Lord Jagannath`s 137th Rath Yatra begins Sunday
Ahmedabad: Amid tight security arrangements, the Chariot of Lord Jagannath is all set to roll on the city roads, where lakhs of devotees will seek divine blessings during the 137th edition of the Rath Yatra beginning Sunday from the 400-year-old temple in Jamalpur area here.
Rath Yatra or chariot festival is celebrated by Hindus on the second day of Sukla Paksha (waxing cycle of moon) in the month of Ashadh.
For the first time, woman chief minister of Gujarat, Anandi Patel will perform the `Pahind-Vidhi` (symbolic path cleaning on chariot of Lord Jagannath) after which the annual rath yatra of Lord Jagannath, elder brother Lord Baldev and their sister Devi Subhadra, will begin.
As per tradition, the Chief Minister performs this ritual.
In keeping with a century-old tradition, elephants will have the first glimpse of Lord Jagannath, and they would lead the procession along its 14-km route.
The procession would comprise 18 elephants, 100 trucks, 30 religious congregations, 18 singing troupes, three chariots and seven cars.
It will pass through some communally sensitive areas, such as Kalupur, Prem Darwaja, Delhi Chakla, Dariyapur and Shahpur in the old city.
In a symbolic move to express the feelings of "brotherhood", the leaders of Muslim community has on today presented a replica of Lord`s chariot to Jagannath temple authority.
Tight security arrangements have been done in the city, as the Rath Yatra passes through communally sensitive areas of the city.
To avoid any attempts to breach communal harmony in the city, police will watch the narrow lanes of sensitive areas with `Netra` - an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle(UAV).
"Netra`s camera would provide feed to our laptop. It can fly up to 100 metres and give us a bird`s eye view", Joint Commissioner of Police (JCP) of Special Branch Vikas Sahay said.
According to Ahmedabad Police Commissioner Shivanand Jha, "More than 19,000 uniformed police and para-military men would be deployed to provide elaborate security for the Rath Yatra route."
Eight IG and DIG-level officers, 39 SPs, 76 DySPs, 222 police inspectors, 759 police sub-inspectors, 266 police women, 12,050 constables along with 36 companies of the Gujarat State Reserve Police (SRP) will also provide security to the Yatra.
Two Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) companies, eight companies of the Border Security Force (BSF), four Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) companies, four Rapid Action Force (RAF) companies and 4,500 homeguards will guard the Lord Jagannath procession.
The police has installed 80 closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) in such areas. Live feeds from these cameras will be monitored by the main control room.
17 police control room vans with GPS systems will be deployed to send SMSes to enable the top 200 police officers to track the exact location of the procession from anywhere.
Detection Crime Branch`s (DCB) 2,500 men have been given the responsibility to walk along the procession.
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