Lakhs of Devotees Throng Near Puri's Jaganath Temple to Participate in Annual Rath Yatra Festival
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik greeted people on the occasion of Lord Jagannath's annual Rath Yatra. State ministers, MLAs and other dignitaries were also present in Puri to witness the grand festival.
Priests perform rituals on the idol of Lord Balabhadra during the annual Rath Yatra, in Puri, Thursday, July 04, 2019. (PTI)
Bhubaneswar: Lakhs of devotees gathered near the Jagannath Temple in Puri and participated in the annual Rath Yatra festival amid tight security on Thursday.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik greeted people on the occasion of Lord Jagannath's annual Rath Yatra.
He sought the blessings of the deities for the happiness and prosperity of people.
Besides the chief minister, state ministers, MLAs and other dignitaries were present in Puri to witness the grand festival.
As a part of the festival, the servitors carried the idols of Lord Balabhadra, Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Sudarshan out of the 12th-century shrine in a ceremonial procession called "Pahandi".
Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati paid his tributes to the idols on their respective chariots in accordance with the rituals.
Lord Jagannath was seated on his "Nandighosh" chariot, while Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra were on their "Taladwaja" and "Darpadalan" chariots respectively.
Lord Sudarshan was seated on the "Darpadalan" chariot, along with Devi Subhadra.
The rituals were held as per the schedule with the cooperation of all the stakeholders and servitors, chief administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration P K Mohapatra said.
Gajapati Maharaj of Puri Divyasingha Deb arrived in his royal palanquin and carried out the "Chhera Panhara" ritual (ceremonial sweeping of the chariots with a golden broom) amid chanting of "slokas" by the priests, he added.
People started pulling the chariots at around 2.15 pm, Mohapatra said.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted people on the occasion.
"Greetings and good wishes to fellow citizens on the auspicious occasion of Rath Yatra. May the blessings of Lord Jagannath bring peace, happiness and prosperity to everyone's lives," the president said in a tweet.
"Best wishes to everyone on the special occasion of the Rath Yatra. We pray to Lord Jagannath and seek his blessings for the good health, happiness and prosperity of everyone. Jai Jagannath," Modi wrote on Twitter.
Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Pratap Chandra Sarangi, both of whom are from Odisha, also greeted people on the occasion.
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