Staff Reporter

Deities will enter the Gundicha temple on Wednesday and stay there till the return journey on July 5

BHUBANESWAR: Over eight lakh devotees from different parts of the country and abroad thronged the holy town of Puri on Tuesday to witness the annual Rath Yatra (car festival) of Lord Jagannath amid tight security. All the rituals were performed on time and the deities Jagannath, Balabhadra and sister Subhadra were brought out of the 12th century Jagannath temple to be driven to the Gundicha temple in their respective chariots named Nandighosh, Taladhwaja and Darpadalana.

The chariots were pulled to the Gundicha temple on the Bada Danda (Grand Road) by the devotees as thousands of security personnel stood guard. Orissa Governor Rameshwar Thakur, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Speaker Maheswar Mohanty and many Ministers were present on the occasion.

The deities will enter the Gundicha temple on Wednesday morning and stay there till the Bahuda Yatra (return journey) on July 5. On return the deities will stay on the chariots and enter the main temple on July 7 after the Suna Besha, when they would be dressed in gold ornaments.

The car festival was celebrated in different parts of the State too.

Deities of Lord Jagannath being worshipped in various temples were pulled in chariots by thousands of devotees amid chanting of hymns.

Yatra peaceful in Gujarat

Ahmedabad Special Correspondent writes: The annual rath yatra of Lord Jagannath was peacefully completed in Ahmedabad and other parts of Gujarat on Tuesday .

In Ahmedabad, the oldest rath yatra in the State, lakh of devotees lined up as the chariots of Lord Jagannath, brother Balbhadra and sister Shubhadra, passed through the 14-kilometre long route, at several places through the Muslim-dominated old city areas.

Starting from the Jagannath temple in Jamalpur locality, early in the morning after Chief Minister Narendra Modi pulled the strings to mark its beginning, the chariots returned to the temple in the evening as more than 20,000 policemen and para-military forces kept a vigil over the entire route as well as on the rooftops of the houses.

Similar rath yatras were taken out in Bhavnagar, Vadodara, Gandhinagar, Surat, and several other cities in the State.

In Porbandar, instead of Lord Jagannath, it was the rath yatra of Baba Ramdev Pir celebrated jointly by the Hindus and Muslims.

In Ahmedabad and Vadodara, the school children also took out bal rath yatra through some important thoroughfares in their respective cities.