Lord Jagannath’s Rath Yatra begins in Puri

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 26 Jun 2017 08:58:17



THE world famous Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath was held in the pilgrim town of Odisha on Sunday with religious fervour and enthusiasm amid tight security.

Undeterred by rains, lakhs of devotees from across the country and abroad descended on the seaside town to witness the nine-day journey of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra to the Gundicha Temple and back to their abode.

Devotees from all walks of life made a beeline to the seaside town to have a glimpse of the presiding deities of the 12th century shrine of Lord Jagannath as the trinity mingled with the sea of humanity during the annual festival of chariots.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Odisha Chief minister Naveen Patnaik, BJP president Amit Shah, Union Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan and other dignitaries greeted the people on Lord Jagannath’s annual car festival. Enthusiasm and excitement ran high among devotees as the deities remained indoors since ‘Snana Purnima’ on June 9.

‘Naba Jaubana Darshan’ of the deities was performed on Saturday as they remained confined to “Anasara Pindi” (recovery chamber) after the grand bath on ‘Snana Purnima’. Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) has put a ban on climbing the chariots and touching deities. “Climbing the chariots and touching the deities during the Rath Yatra is not permissible as per the order of the Orissa High Court,” said SJTA Chief Administrator P K Jena.

With millions thronging the holy town, police made elaborate security arrangements by deploying 127 platoons of force (one platoon has around 30 personnel) besides putting air and coast surveillance in place. A multi-layer security net was built to ensure smooth conduct of the festival while CCTVs were installed at various locations, according to Director General of Police (DGP), K B Singh.

Security was tightened outside the temple, around the three chariots and the Grand road, sea beach, railway station and the bus stand, he said, adding that patrolling
was strengthened. “We are well prepared to face any situation. Steps have also been taken to avoid any stampede-like situation,” said a police official.

Besides three companies of the newly raised Odisha Swift Action Force (OSAF), personnel of Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS), Rapid Action Force (RAF) and sharp shooters were deployed at vital points while the Coast Guard kept a vigil on the sea.