Rath Yatra: Ritual Schedule & Security Arrangements In Place

Puri: With just a day before the commencement of Rath Yatra tomorrow, the Agyan Mala Bije ritual on the three chariots of the Holy Trinity was conducted in Puri today. Agyan Mala Bije is like the divine permission from the Lords for readying the three chariots for the festival.

As per ritual, Pujapanda servitors of the temple brought three garlands of consent from the three deities and placed them on their respective chariots thereby officially permitting conduct of preparatory rituals for reading the chariots for pulling.

After conduct of Agyan Mala Bije, the chariots were pulled from Ratha Khala and parked in front of Singha Dwara where they will be ready to be pulled tomorrow.

A spirit of religious fervour and devotion filled the entire Badadanda as the Nandighosa chariot was firstly pulled to the Singha Dwara followed by Devi Subhadra’s Devadalan and lastly Lord Balabhadra’s Taladhwaja was also pulled towards the temple gate amid the presence of lakhs of devotees who have already begun to swarm the pilgrim city ahead of the mega festival.

Secretary of Daitapati Nijog Durga Prasad Das Mohapatra informed that all rituals are smoothly underway and the scheduled rites will also be conducted with good coordination among the servitors.

After the Sandhya Alati, the Agyan Mala for the flag to be affixed on the chariots will be undertaken and thereafter the inauguration (pratistha) of all three chariots will be conducted by the temple Purohits.

Later, with the completion of Bada Singhar (make-up) of all the three deities, the construction of Bahuti Kanta by Maharana servitors will be carried out. Late in the night, ritual of Senapata Lagi will be performed during which wooden crosses will be fixed and thick silken ropes tied round heads and waists for the protection of the deities.

“Tomorrow after Sakala Dhupa and Mangala Alati by 9 AM, the Pahandi of the deities will be performed. We hope to smoothly complete all the rituals on time,” said Das Mohapatra.

Meanwhile, in view of the heavy footfall of the devotees and pilgrims from across the world, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration, Odisha Police and the State government have made extensive arrangements for smooth conduct of the festival beginning tomorrow with the Sri Gundicha Jatra.

Briefing media on elaborate security arrangements in the pilgrim town, IGP Central Range Cuttack, Soumendra Priyadarshi said a total of 142 platoons of police force, 2 companies of Rapid Action Force, 3 units of OSAF, NDRF teams, AET trainees, more than 1000 police officers have been deployed for the security during the festival.

“Our foremost duty will be to ensure smooth and incident-free pulling of chariots along with controlling crowd of lakhs of devotees followed by traffic management. Conduct of rituals and darshan of deities inside the temple is being given prominence, said Priyadarshi who is also in charge of supervising police arrangement inside the temple.

25 information centres have been set up while special maps have been installed at 47 places to assist people in movement during the festival. A mobile app has also been created to help people. As many as 40 platoons of force have been deployed and 18 parking lots have been created for traffic & crowd control overseen by IG Special Armed Police (SAP) Amitabh Thakur.

“For general security, CCTV installations have been made at all sensitive points and they will be monitored by two control towers, one the Integrated Control Room at Town Police Station and one other for traffic regulation at Kumbharpara Police Station,” informed Priyadarshi.

“To keep an eye on suspicious activities, undercover police officers have also been deployed at all designated places and Quick Action Teams and 3 Special Tactical Units have also been mobilised at all the three entry points of the city to prevent any untoward incidents,” he added.