Puri: Amid a sea of devotees filling the atmosphere with spirituality and devotion and chants of Jay Jagannath reverberating in the air, world famous Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath and his sibling deities was a spectacle to behold today.
As expected, lakhs of devotees thronged the pilgrim town to witness the mega event when the holy Trinity — Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra come out of the Srimandir and embark on a nine-day sojourn to their aunt’s house (Gundicha Temple) on three chariots.
Today on the first day of the festival, rituals of the deities kicked off smoothly with the Mailama, Tadapalagi, Rosa Homa, Abakash and Gopal Ballav rituals in the morning.
Thereafter, amid sound of conches and cymbals the ceremonial Pahandi rituals began and all the three deities and Lord Sudarshan were ushered out of the Srimandir to their respective chariots.
After Shankaracharya of Puri Govardhana peeth Swami Nischalananda Saraswati offered his prayers to the deities seated atop their chariots, Puri King Gajapati Maharaj Dibyasingha Deb, who is considered as the first servitor of the holy Trinity was brought on his royal palanquin from the Raja Nahara where he performed the 'Chhera Panhara' (sweeping of the three chariot floors with a golden broom) ritual.
After 'Charamalas' were removed, chariot pulling began on the Badadanda (the Grand Road) amid tight security.
While the chariots of Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra completed their scheduled journey, the Nandighosh chariot of Lord Jagannath was halted within a short distance of the Gundicha temple, the designated destination.
Elaborate arrangements were made by the administration in view of the mega festival. Adequate force was mobilised to monitor and streamline crowd and traffic movement during chariot pulling. Similarly, 140 platoons of police force were also deployed. As many as 120 CCTV cameras were also installed across the city to monitor traffic movement on major routes leading to Badadanda.
Not only Puri, the car festival was also held across the State and several parts around the country and globe today.