Odishatv Bureau

Puri: Preparations are in full swing for the world famous Rath Yatra beginning tomorrow. The chariots of the deities were taken to Singhadwara before the Nabajoubana darsan of the Trinity.

Devotees made a serpentine queue to have a glimpse of Lord Jagannath and his siblings even as the darshan started three hours late following delay in rituals.

"We were eagerly waiting to have darshan of Lord Jagannath, who was in the Anasara Ghara  for 15 days. The rain does not deter us from visiting the Lords today", said a devotee.

On the other hand, the servitors expressed hope about smooth conduct of rituals tomorrow for the festival. "All things will pass very smoothly. I don’t think any problem will arise tomorrow”, said Binayak Das Mohapatra, senior Daitapati servitor.

Temple administration has fixed the ritual schedule for tomorrow. Mangala Arati will be held at 8 am, Rath Pratistha at 9 am, Pahandi at 9.30 pm, Chhera Pahanra by Gajapati Maharaj between 2 pm and 3 pm. The chariot pulling will begin at 3.30 pm.

The Sri Jagannath Temple Administration has strictly instructed devotees not to touch the deities. Posters and hoardings warning against touching deities are put up at different places in the pilgrim town. "If anybody violates the norm and tries to touch deities, we will not hesitate to take legal action against them ", SJTA chief administrator PK Jena said.

Keeping in view the huge turnout like every year, security arrangements have been beefed up in the town. As many as 127 platoons of forces including Swift Action Force have been mobilised to ensure security during the huge congregation.

However due to heavy rains today morning, the grand road was completely submerged. Medical square, Grand Road, VIP road, fire station area, marine drive witnessed ankle-deep water making it inconvenient for the visitors. Darshan of the Lords was also affected due to rain for quite sometime today. Water pumps were pressed into service to release the overflowing water at many places.

"We are ready to discharge the overflowing water caused by the rain. Pumps have been put in place to release the extra water from low lying areas", Collector Aravind Agrawal said.