Odishatv Bureau

Baripada: Devotees soaked in religious fervour and devotion as they tugged Lord Balabhadra's chariot to Mausima temple today.

While Goddess Subhadra in her chariot could only reach up to the Town Police station, Lord Jagannath in his chariot will start his journey to his aunt's abode tomorrow.

As per tradition, the pulling of chariots in Baripada is held a day after the Puri Rath Yatra.

What makes the Rath Yatra in Baripada special is the fact that the chariot of Devi Subhadra is pulled by the women devotees.

Like Puri Srimandir, all the important rituals including 'Pahandi bije' of the deities of the Jagannath Temple to their respective chariots and 'Cherra Panhara' were performed on the first day of Rath Yatra on Saturday.

The chariots of Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra will be pulled by devotees today while the chariot of Lord Jagannath, Nandighosa will be pulled on Monday.

"I am feeling blessed to get the opportunity to come here to pull Maa Subhadra's chariot. We wait for this opportunity throughout the year," said a woman devotee.

Adequate security measures have been made by the district administration for the smooth conduct of the annual festival here.

"20 platoon of police force including 10 to 12 Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSPs), 25 Inspectors have been deployed in Baripada town for the Rath Yatra celebrations. Special measures have also been undertaken for traffic on the routes the chariots will pass," said Inspector-in-Charge (IIC) of Town Police Station, Ashok Kumar Nayak.

CCTV cameras have been installed in strategic locations in the town to keep strict vigil on the movement of the crowd.

Apart from Baripada, the Rath Yatra celebrations also assume religious significance in Kendrapara, which is also known as 'Tulasi Khetra'.

A sea of humanity thronged Kendrapara town to pull the Brahma Taladhwaja of Lord Baladevjew today.

Unlike Puri, the Rath Yatra in Kendrapara is celebrated for two days and dieties are taken on a single chariot for their annual sojourn. The 65-feet tall chariot is made up of 1,223 pieces of wood and has 14 wheels.

After the ceremonial pahandi, the deities were taken to the chariot which was pulled by devotees yesterday. As per the tradition, the pulling of the chariot will resume today and will reach the Gundicha temple by evening, sources said.