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Puri Jagannath Rath yatra begins: Lakhs take part in procession

PURI, July 1: The celebrations of the annual Puri Jagannath Rath yatra began on Friday with the participation of lakhs of devotees after a lapse of two years due to covid pandemic.

The yatra began with Pahandi rituals early in the morning. The idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra were brought out of the sanctum sanctorum and giant wooden chariots carrying the idols are being pulled by devotees to Gundicha temple. The festival lasts 12 days when they return.

The yatra to Gundicha and back includes various rituals such as Chhera Panhara, Charamala Phita, Ghoda, Sarathi Lagiba, Ratha Tana Arambha, Bahuda Jatra, Suna Besha, Adhara Pana and Niladri Bije.

The police have made elaborate security arrangements as lakhs of devotees participate in the festival.

"I convey my heartiest greetings and good wishes to the people of our country on the auspicious occasion of Rath Yatra. The Rath Yatra of Odisha, depicting the annual journey of Lord Jagannatha, considered to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, witnesses the coming together of the entire community in celebration of the grace and divinity of the Lord," Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu said in his greetings on the occasion of the festival.

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