BHUBANESHWAR: The nine-day annual Jagannath Rath Yatra festival is all set to begin on Saturday, July 14, amid tight security arrangements in Odisha's Puri. The administration is expecting a congregation of about 10 lakh devotees from across the country and abroad.
As many as 140 platoons of police force and 1,000 officers will be deployed during the festival. Two units of Rapid Action Force and Odisha Swift Action Force has also been deployed to ensure smooth conduct of the Rath Jatra.
The three chariots of the deities – Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess (Devi) Subhadra – are ready and has been put near the temple for the yatra.
The rituals will begin at around 6 am on Saturday and at 9.30 am the idols will be shifted to their chariots.
The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration cautioned devotees not to climb chariots and touch the Trinity.
"It will be treated as an offence and crime if anyone climbs chariots and touches Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Devi Subhadra," SJTA chief administrator P K Mohapatra said.
Ahead of the Jagannath Rath Yatra here, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent traditional offerings to the Lord Jagannath temple.
"As always, the PM has kept his commitment and sent sprouted moong, jamun, pomegranate and mangoes, which will be offered to Lord Jagannath," said the head priest of the temple, Dilipdasjee Maharaj.
"Since he (Modi) stayed here during his early life, when he was not a known figure, Modi is attached to the temple," he said.
PM Modi has reportedly been sending offerings to the temple ahead of the Rath Yatra for the last many years. According to temple trustee Mahendra Jha, Modi had stayed in the temple for a brief period during his early days.
BJP chief Amit Shah will also be participating in Jagannath rath yatra events in Ahmedabad.
With agency inputs