The famous Jagannath Yatra in Puri district of Odisha has begun on Thursday with religious fervor two months after the devastating cyclone Fani. The temple town recovered quickly to host the millions of devotees thronging to the temple town on the occasion of the famous puri Jagannath rath yatra.

It is also referred to as Rathayatra or Chariot festival which means public procession in a chariot.  The annual Rathajatra is held in Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal and other East Indian states.

The Rath Yatra begins from the Puri Jagannath temple to Gundicha Temple which is believed to be the birthplace of the deities. Puri regained its sheen on war footing after bearing the brunt of cyclone Fani which wrecked damage all over the coastal district.

Triads are usually worshiped in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple at Puri, but once during the month of Asadha (Rainy Season of Odisha, usually falling in month of June or July), they are brought out onto the Bada Danda (main street of Puri) and travel (3 km) to the Shri Gundicha temple, in huge chariots (ratha), allowing the public to have a view of the deities.

The chariots are huge wheeled wooden structures, which are built anew every year and are pulled by the devotees. The chariot for Jagannath is approximately 45 feet high and 35 feet square and takes about 2 months to construct.

Religious fervor is all over the place as the temple town resonates with sounds of devotees chanting ‘Jai Jagannath’ and the echoes of cymbals and drums played along the procession.

The district administration has made massive preparations for the peaceful conduct of the nine day annual Rath Yatra. Huge numbers of devotees from various parts of the world come to witness the beginning of the Chariot journey of Lord Jagannath and his siblings Bababhadra and Subhadra.

“We have made foolproof preparations to host the mega festival. All requisite infrastructure and tourist amenities are in place. The devotees will have a smooth stay during the Rath Yatra,” said Puri district collector Balwant Singh.

Security has been beefed up to prevent any untoward incident. Thousands of personnel were deployed and CCTV cameras were installed in all the blocks to ensure security to devotees and VIPs.

In Bengal TMC chief Mamatha Banerjee along with newly elected Member of Parliament Nusrat Jahan inaugurated the Rath Yatra in Kolkata. By having Nusrat Jahan as a special invitee for the event, mamata sends a strong message across.

Despite coming under attack for wearing sindoor and mangalasutra Nusrat Jahan calls herself ‘blessed’ for the opportunity take part in the event. She added “Young India, stands for inclusive India, secularism and Humanity.”

 

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