Rukuna Rath draws huge crowd

Bhubaneswar: The cruelty of nature gave in to the faith of devotees as scores of people bustled to pull the Rukuna Rath of Lord Lingaraj on Monday on the occasion of Ashokastami.

Like the famous Car Festival of the trinity is organized in Puri, Rukuna Rath is held here with much fanfare every year.  

Earlier in the day, priests of the Lingaraj temple brought the bronze images of three deities—Chandrasekhar (the incarnation of Lord Lingaraj), Rukmini and Basudeva in ceremonial procession onto the chariot that was bedecked with colourful cloths and flowers.

Captivated devotees were seen chanting on the street to the tunes of gongs, cymbals, conches and other traditional musical instruments during the pahandi procession of deities.

Every year the deities, onboard the chariot, traverse nearly 2-km to reach Mausima temple. However, this time the deities could not reach their destination as pulling of chariot was suspended in the evening as the chariot pulling kicked off late.

The deities would resume their journey on the following morning and stay at Mausima shrine for four days. It may be noted that the four-wheeled Rukuna Rath is also called ‘analeuta’ chariot (the chariot that does not take a turn).

Elaborate security arrangements were made for smooth passage of the event. Various organizations provided water to the pilgrims to comfort them from scorching sun.