Thousands gather to pull Rukuna Rath of Lord Lingaraj

Bhubaneswar: Thousands of devotees lined up at the Lingaraj temple here to pull the chariot of Lord Lingaraj on the auspicious occasion of Ram Navami on Tuesday. The chariot, known as Rukuna Rath in local parlance was pulled on the Rath Road amid beating of gongs, cymbals and blowing of conch shells.

The chariot which halted at the Tinimundia square will resume its journey tomorrow.

Earlier in the day, after completion of all the rituals, the holy water from nearby Marichi Kunda was sprinkled on the chariot. Before the Rath Yatra began, the priests of Lingaraj temple brought the bronze images of all the three deities -Chandrasekhar (the incarnation of Lord Lingaraj), Rukmini and Basudeva and installed them on the chariot. Chanting of hymns filled the air as the devotees gathered for the annual sojourn and jostled with each other to have a glimpse of the deities.

It is noteworthy to mention that the deities travel a distance of about 2.5 kms to reach the Mausima Temple where they will stay for five days.

Elaborate security arrangements were made for the smooth functioning of the festival. Besides, steps have also been taken to ensure availability of water keeping in mind the prevailing heat wave condition.