Rath Yatra 2023: Chariot pulling begins

Puri: Devotees attend the annual ‘Rath Yatra’ (chariot procession) of Lord Jagannath, at Puri, on Tuesday, June 20, 2023. (Photo: IANS/Twitter)

Puri, June 20 (IANS) Amid chants of ‘Hari Bol’ and ‘Jai Jagannath’, pulling of chariots of Lord Jagannath and his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra began a little ahead of the schedule on Tuesday.
As the chariots started moving on the Grand Road here, the holy trinity started their nine-day journey to Sri Gundicha temple.
After completion of rituals of the three deities, starting from Pahandi Bije to Chhera Panhara in a very high spiritual atmosphere, the chariot pulling started in presence of thousands of devotees at the pilgrim town.
Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati accompanied by his disciples and servitors offered prayers to the deities on their respective chariots. Following this ritual, Gajapati Maharaja of Puri, Dibyasingh Deb arrived in his royal palanquin and carried out the Chhera Panhara ritual, the ceremonial sweeping of the chariots with a golden broom, amid chanting of hymns by the priests.
The Pahandi rituals started at 8.35 a.m. ahead of the scheduled time of 9.30 a.m. and the rituals completed by around 12 noon. I hope that the chariots will reach Saradhabali on time, said Puri Collector Samarth Verma.
Pulling of the three gigantic chariots by the servitors started around 3.04 p.m. Taladhwaja of Lord Balabhadra was pulled first followed by Darpadalana of Devi Subhadra and Nandighosa of Lord Jagannath. The Pahandi ritual at Gundicha Temple will be held tomorrow morning.
Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Ashwini Vaishnaw and Chief Justice of Orissa High Court, S. Muralidhar visited Puri to witness the Rath Yatra. Besides, several Odisha Ministers, MLAs and opposition party leaders also visited Puri today.
More than 180 platoons of police personnel, including 1,000 officers of various ranks are deployed in and around Puri to ensure safe conduct of the festival. The police made special arrangements for smooth flow of traffic.

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