Puri: As usual with lots of pomp and ceremony the Rath Yatra festival of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra began here in Puri. The three deities on this day began a journey to their aunt’s place and return after 9 days stay.
In the morning the rituals began with Pahandi that is bringing the deities on board the beautifully decorated chariots. After boarding the three respective chariots, Shankaracharya of Puri Jagadguru Swami Nischalanada Saraswati of Govardhana Matha later performed the rituals on the three chariots followed by Puri Gajapati Divya Singh Dev performed his ritual of Cchhera pahanra sweeping and cleaning the chariots of three deities before they begin their journey towards Gundicha temple their aunt’s place.
Lakhs of people congregated here on the Bada Danada (Grand Road) to witness the holy festival of Rath Yatra. People have thronged from all across the country and abroad to take a glimpse of Lord Jagannath and his siblings on board the three chariots. This is a festival which has a great significance in Hindu religion for its belief in equality as the deities themselves come out to give Darshan to people from all religions, caste and creed. The chariots are drawn by the people and are on their way to the final destination at Gundicha temple about 3 kms away from the Jagannath Temple till reports were last received.