BHUBANESWAR:Pulling of Rukuna Rath of Lord Lingaraj had to be stopped abruptly on Saturday as the chariot’s ropes snapped thrice. The chariot moved for a short distance before it was stopped. Pulling would resume on Sunday. Thousands of devotees had gathered in Old Town to pull the chariot on the occasion of Ashoka Astami. The day began with the regular rituals early in the day and at 1.30 pm, the ‘Pahandi Bije’ started. At 3 pm, the Bhoga Mandap ‘niti’ of the deities was organised followed by pulling of the chariot.
The ropes procured from Coir Board of India snapped three times before reaching Badheibanka Chhak. Tight security arrangements were made to manage the crowd and maintain law and order during the Rath Yatra. Every year during Rukuna Rath Yatra, the annual chariot festival of Lord Lingaraj, bronze images of three deities―Chandrasekhar (the representative of Lord Lingaraj), Rukmini and Basudeva are taken to Rameshwar temple in a colourful procession. The deities stay in the temple for four days before returning to Lingaraj temple in the chariot.