Communal harmony marks rathyatra of Lord Jagannath

Marked by active participation from members of both the communities, the 134th edition of Lord Jagannath`s rathyatra passed off peacefully here.

Updated: Jul 04, 2011, 00:06 AM IST

Ahmedabad: Marked by active participation
from members of both the communities, the 134th edition of
Lord Jagannath`s rathyatra on Sunday passed off peacefully here.

The colourful procession, comprising of 19 decorated
elephants, 98 trucks mounted with tableau depicting Indian
culture, and three aesthetically decked chariots of Lord
Jagannath, Lord Balram and their sister Subhadra, moved past
the communally-sensitive areas like Kalupur, Dariyapur and
Shahpur which had in the past witnessed communal violence.

The convoy was greeted by local leaders of the
minority community in the areas it passed through amidst tight
security arrangements made by police and other agencies.

The rathyatra, accompanied by chorus of devotional
songs and drum beats, moved silently at the time of evening
prayers in the minority-dominated areas.

The people, who lined up on both sides of roads,
jostled up to have a glimpse of the procession.

Local MLA Gyasuddin Sheikh said that it was the
efforts of the common people that have made the rathyatra
peaceful since the past decade.

The mohalla committees and the peace committees have
played a major role in bringing the two communities together,
he said.

Earlier in the day, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra
Modi performed symbolic `road cleaning` outside the
400-year-old Lord Jagannath temple from where the chariots of
the Lord Jagannath, Lord Balram and their sister Subhadra
commenced their journey throughout the city.

During its journey through the city, the procession
and the devotees halted briefly at Saraspur, which is
considered to be the maternal home of Lord Jagannath.

Elaborate arrangements were made to serve `Maha Bhoj`
(prasad) to more than 1.5 lakh people in Saraspur where the
convoy rested for around two hours before starting its return
journey to the four-century old temple of the lord.

In Saraspur, devotees collected essential food items
required for the preparation of prasad from around a month
ago, as per the custom.

Over 5,000 volunteers rendered their services to make
the ceremony a grand success.

PTI