Odisha: Puri set for a grand, magnificent Rath Yatra

This year is special as President Droupadi Murmu will attend the event and also pull the chariots on Grand Road
This year, rituals like Netra Utsav, Nabajouban darshan and Rath Yatra will be conducted simultaneously
This year, rituals like Netra Utsav, Nabajouban darshan and Rath Yatra will be conducted simultaneouslyPhoto | Express

PURI: The stage is all set for Rath Yatra of the holy Trinity as all roads lead to Puri.

This year, rituals like Netra Utsav, Nabajouban darshan and Rath Yatra will be conducted simultaneously. As per the temple almanac, the stipulated 15-day Anasar period of the deities was reduced to 13. This year is also special as President Droupadi Murmu will witness the fete and also pull the chariots. In the annals of temple history, no President or prime minister of the country has ever witnessed the festival in the town.

Since the vital rituals will be performed on a single day, it will delay pulling of chariots. As per the schedule released to media, priests will perform regular chores of deities like mangal arati, abakash, tadap lagi, mailum, rosa homa, suryapuja and offering of Gopal bhog to the deities. The Dutta Mahapatra servitors will do the facial of the deities known as ‘Banak lagi’ to give them a refreshed and youthful look for ‘Nabajouban darshan’.

The administration has prohibited Paramanik (ticket) and free darshan of the deities during the pahandi inside the temple. The Daita servitors will take hours to fix chhenapatta, kusmi, and bahutakanta, the protective armour on the deities to help them bear the stress of pahandi.

On Sunday, the ceremonial pahandi of the deities will begin by 1.30 pm and completed by 2.30 pm. Gajapati Dibyasingha deb will perform ‘chherapahanra’ (sweeping of the decks of three rathas with a golden broom) and it will be completed by 4 pm. The pulling of the chariots will begin by 5 pm.

CM Mohan Majhi cleaning a road near Gundicha Temple in Puri
CM Mohan Majhi cleaning a road near Gundicha Temple in Puri

Since it will be impossible to pull all the chariots to Gundicha temple, in order to maintain tradition one of it will be pulled to a short distance. The pulling of the chariots will resume on Monday morning and taken to Gundicha temple.

At around 11 am, the temple purohit will consecrate all the three chariots by performing a yajna. The Bahuda yatra (return car festival)will be held on July 15 and Sunabesha of the deities on July 17. The deities will enter the Shree Jagannath Temple’s Ratna Singhasan in a procession called Niladri Bije.

Sources said 180 platoons of police led by three additional DGPs and several IGPs have been deputed on President’s security.The Badadanda has been divided into six security zones and one senior officer will look after the arrangements in his/her respective zone. Besides, at least 164 CCTV cameras with artificial intelligence have been installed along Badadanda and other parts of the town.

Public announcement drones will be used while senior police officers will monitor the entire town and venue from two integrated control rooms. An elaborate traffic regulation plan is being implemented. This apart, several units of bomb detection and disposal units, three companies of RAF, and five companies of CRPF have been deployed for the festival.

The East Coast Railway will run 315 special trains to Puri from different places while hundreds of buses will transport devotees to the town. Railways has made provisions for 15,000 devotees in temporary shelters erected near Puri railway station. It has also opened additional ticket booking and vending counters besides food outlets at the station. The Health department has made provisions for an extra 100 beds for heat stroke patients along with a burn ward. More than 100 doctors with additional support staff have been stationed in various hospitals in the town and its suburbs.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Chief Minister Mohan Charan Majhi along with his two deputies Pravati Parida and Kanak Vardhan Singhdeo and local MP Sambit Patra conducted a cleanliness drive by sweeping near Gundicha temple area where the three chariots will be parked.

The chief minister said the initiative was meant to send out a message to keep Badadanda clean. Earlier in the morning, all the three chariots were brought from ratha khalla (construction yard) to the festival site-Singhadwar and parked facing East.

All set for D-Day

Vital rituals will be performed on Sunday

The chariots will be pulled till Gundicha temple on Monday

180 platoons of police tasked with Prez’s security

315 trains to be operated by ECoR for the festival

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The New Indian Express