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    IndiaRath Yatra: Chariot pulling begins in Puri

    Rath Yatra: Chariot pulling begins in Puri


    Puri (Odisha), Jul 7: Thousands of people pulled forward giant chariots from the 12th century Jagannath temple in Puri towards Gundicha temple, around 2.5 km away, on Sunday afternoon.

    The chariot pulling started around 5.20 pm after Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalanada Saraswati visited the chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra with his disciples and the Puri's titular king completed the ‘Chhera Pahanra' (chariot sweeping) ritual.

    The wooden horses were fitted to the chariots and the servitor pilots guided the devotees to pull the chariots in the right direction.

    President Droupadi Murmu performed a ‘parikrama' of the three chariots and bowed down before the deities.

    The President, Odisha Governor Raghubar Das, Odisha Chief Minister Mohan Charan Majhi and Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan symbolically started the mammoth exercise by pulling the ropes connecting the principal Jagannath chariot. Leader of Opposition Naveen Patnaik also had a ‘darshan' of the sibling deities.

    Thousands of people pulled the nearly 45-feet tall wooden chariot of Lord Balabhadra. It will be followed by pulling of chariots of Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath.

    Rhythmically beating brass cymbals and hand drums, priests surrounded the gods on the canopied chariots as the procession made its slow way through the main street of the temple town.

    The air rented with ‘Jai Jagannath' and ‘Haribol' as frenzied devotees tried to get a glimpse of the holy occasion.

    Different artiste groups performed ‘kirtans' (religious songs) and Odissi dance in front of the chariots before the procession started.

    Around a million devotees are estimated to have converged on this town for the annual car festival. While most of the devotees were from Odisha and the neighbouring states, many from abroad also joined in what is considered one of the largest religious processions globally.

    Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mohan Majhi reached in Puri and met Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati.

    Majhi said he got the opportunity to meet the Puri seer, who advised him to provide service and justice to the poor and destitute of the state. The Shankaracharya has also advised the CM to take steps for the renovation of the Srikhetra Puri and Govardhan peeth.

    Earlier in the day, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra ascended their respective chariots after the completion of the three-hour-long ‘Pahandi' ritual at 2.15 pm..

    ‘Jai Jagannath' chants, sounds of gongs, conches and cymbals reverberated through the air at Lion's Gate of the Puri temple as Lord Sudarshan was first escorted to Darpadalan, the chariot of Devi Subhadra.

    Following Lord Sudarshan, Lord Balabhadra was taken to his Taladhwaja chariot. Goddess Subhadra, the sister of Lord Jagannath and Lord Balabhadra, was brought to her Darpadalan chariot in a special procession by servitors.

    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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