The Jagannath Rath Yatra brought a festive atmosphere to the city on Thursday. With the weather being pleasant, thousands of devotees who converged on the Lord Jagannath Temple at Banjara Hills, had a wonderful timepulling the sacred chariot. Leading the celebrations, Governor ESL Narasimhan performed the sacred sweeping ceremony at the temple ahead of the procession. “Over 6,000 devotees and 400 volunteers pulled the chariot up to the Kanakadurga Temple, chanting prayers and singing devotional songs,” said Ratan Kumar Singh of the Kalinga Cultural Trust which organised the procession. The Lord will be brought back to the temple at Banjara Hills on June 29.
The police made elaborate arrangements for the half-a-km yatra of three chariots, one of Lord Jagannath, the others of Balbhadra and Subhadra. “We have deployed 6 inspectors, 12 sub-inspectors, 9 women personnel, an anti-sabotage team and 36 armed personnel and also ensured traffic diversions,” ACP E Shankar Reddy said. Extra barricades and redesigned chariots were used this year.
The annual Jagannath Rath Yatra is also called Gundicha Yatra, Ghosa Yatra or Navadina Yatra. The deities were brought to the chariots in the morning after performing prayers in the presence of the Governor.
Since the procession fell on a week day, the organisers were concerned about the devotees’ turnout in the morning. “We expected around 10,000 devotees. We had also arranged lunch and prasadam for the devotees. As per our expectations, over 6,000 attended the procession,” said Ratan Kumar Singh. The Jagannath temple in the city is a replica of the original Jagannath Dham of Puri.