Rath Yatra 2024: One dead, 5 injured in stampede-like situation

Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra 2024
Photo | Debadatta Mallick
Updated on
3 min read
Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra 2024
Photo | Debadatta Mallick

The first Rath Yatra under the newly-elected BJP government in Odisha started on a tragic note as a male devotee died and several others sustained injuries when a stampede-like situation arose during the pulling of the chariots of the Holy Trinity on Sunday evening.

Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra 2024
Photo | Debadatta Mallick

The incident took place near the Hindi school, about 200 metres from Simhadwar of the Jagannath temple when there was a mad rush to pull the Taladhwaja chariot of Lord Balabhadra - the first to roll.

Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra 2024
(Photo | Debadatta Mallick, EPS)

Eyewitnesses said the tussle among the devotees to lay hands on the ropes and pull the chariot led to the situation.

Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra 2024
Photo | Debadatta Mallick

The deceased devotee fell in the push and was trampled by others. At least, five others also fell and sustained injuries.

Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra 2024
(Photo | Debadatta Mallick, EPS)

Volunteers shifted all of them to the district headquarters hospital where the doctors declared one dead.

Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra 2024
(Photo | Debadatta Mallick, EPS)

This apart, over 300 devotees were hospitalized due to various reasons including dehydration, suffocation and injuries during chariot pulling as the city was gripped by extreme heat and humidity throughout the day.

President Droupadi Murmu, Rath Yatra 2024
(Photo | PTI)

The Grand Road teemed with a sea of devotees as lakhs converged to take part in the festival with President Droupadi Murmu in attendance this year. This is the first time that the President of India participated in the festival.

Preseident Droupadi Murmu, Rath Yatra 2024
(Photo | PTI)

The ruling party also invited former chief minister and Leader of Opposition Naveen Patnaik, who obliged and arrived for a brief period to take part in the biggest religious festival in the state.

Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra 2024
(Photo | Debadatta Mallick, EPS)

This Rath Yatra is considered unique as all three rituals of Netra Utsav, Nabajaubana Darshan and Rath Yatra are being held on the same day. A similar celestial arrangement had occurred 53 years ago, in 1971.

Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra 2024
(Photo | Debadatta Mallick, EPS)

As the Rath Yatra this year is being held as per the 1971 schedule, when there was no Nabajaubana Darshan and Pahandi, the ceremonial procession of the three deities started at around 11 am and was completed an hour before the fixed schedule this time.

Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra 2024
(Photo | Debadatta Mallick, EPS)

The Puri administration put in place several measures for smooth conduct of the Grand festival. Close to 450 organisations came forward to distribute free food, water and glucose among devotees.

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