Devotees Flock Ahmedabad As Jagannath Rath Yatra Begins After Two Years

Ahmedabad: The 145th Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath commenced on Friday, July 1, 2022 morning here amid tight security as lakhs of devotees from across the state are flocking the route to catch a glimpse of the deity and witness the religious extravaganza.

Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel performed the Pahind Vidhi a symbolic ritual of cleaning the way for the chariots, using a golden broom before the start of the Rath Yatra, news agency PTI reported.

After the ritual, the chariots of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balbhadra and sister Subhadra embarked on the annual yatra from the 400-year-old Jagannath temple in the Jamalpur area. Before the commencement of the Rath Yatra, Union Home Minister Amit Shah performed mangla aarti’ (auspicious ritual to pay obeisance to the Lord) of the deities in the temple in the early hours.

Notably, a full-fledged Rath Yatra is being held after a gap of two years caused due to the pandemic.

In 2020, a symbolic rath yatra was organised on the premises of the Lord Jagannath temple, after the Gujarat High Court denied permission for the usual public procession in view of the pandemic.

Last year, only three chariots and two other vehicles had covered the entire route and returned without the usual festivity as no other vehicle, singing troupes, akhadas, elephants or decorated trucks were permitted.

This year, besides the three chariots of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balram and sister Subhadra, the Rath Yatra procession comprises nearly 15 decorated elephants, 100 trucks with tableaux and members of religious groups, akharas (local gyms) and singing troupes. The yatra is taken out every year on Ashadhi Bij, the second day of Ashadh month, as per the Hindu calendar, the report added.

The procession will return to the temple at around 8.30 pm after passing through an 18-km-long route in the Old City, including some communally sensitive areas like Jamalpur, Kalupur, Shahpur and Dariyapur. As many as 25,000 security personnel, including those from the Central Armed Police Forces, are deployed at strategic locations along the yatra route to prevent any untoward incident, officials said.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted people on the occasion of the ‘Rath Yatra’ of Lord Jagannath, wishing that everyone is blessed with good health and happiness.

“Greetings on the special day of Rath Yatra. We pray to Lord Jagannath for his constant blessings. May we all be blessed with good health and happiness,” Mr. Modi tweeted.

He also shared what he had spoken about the Rath Yatra and the importance of a yatra in our culture during the recent Mann Ki Baat radio broadcast.

The Prime Minister also greeted everyone, especially the vibrant Kutchi community spread across the world, on the auspicious occasion of Ashadhi Bij. “May this coming year bring peace, happiness and good health in everyone’s lives,” he said.

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