The nine-day annual Jagannath Rath Yatra began from Saturday, July 14, amid massive security arrangements in Odisha’s Puri. The Yatra is likely to stretch up to 1.5km and cover around 15 km on the road before the devotees return to the Jagannath temple in Jamalpur. Media reports suggest that around 10 lakh devotees from all over the country and abroad are expected to be part of this festival. On the occasion of the annual Rath Yatra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his Twitter handle extended his greeting to all the devotees.
The symbolic ritual of cleaning the way for the raths will be done by Chief Minister of Gujarat Vijay Rupani. BJP national president Amit Shah who is in the state, attended the early morning prayers at the Lord Jagannath Temple in Ahmedabad, as reported by Zeenews. It is also expected that Shah will address a Youth Parliament at a private university in Gandhinagar.
Rath Yatra is a chariot festival of 3 deities: Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess (Devi) Subhadra. It is commemorated with a lot of fervour in Odisha. Besides Odisha, monolithic chariot processions are also held in other cities like Ahmedabad and Kolkata.
The temple authorities have made all the arrangements for a smooth completion of the ritual. Around 8,000 policemen accompanied by Rapid Action Force, the anti-bomb squad have been deployed in Puri for the security of the devotees and other tourists who are part of the Yatra.