Ahmedabad: A religious procession will uniquely have Unmanned Aerial Vehicles as part of its security cover when the 136th Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath begins here on Wednesday morning.
On the eve of the yatra, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi visited the more than 400-year old temple in Jamalpur area of the city to take stock of security and other arrangements and also to pay obeisance to the deity. The yatra kicks off from the temple.
Modi also sought blessings of Mahant Dilipdas Maharaj, who will preside over tomorrow`s procession.
"We pray to Lord Jagannath for peace, unity and goodwill amongst all of us. May he bless the poorest of the poor, our farmers and may India scale newer heights of progress in the coming years," Modi later wrote on his blog.
As per the tradition, Modi will perform the `Pahind Vidhi` for the Rath Yatra (symbolic cleaning of the path for the chariot of Lord Jagannath), after which the procession of Lord Jagannath, Lord Baldev and their sister Subhadra will begin.
Modi will be the first CM to perform the traditional ceremony for the 12th time, a trustee of the temple said.
He added that Modi would also pull the chariot out of the temple premises, an age-old tradition.
Outside the Rath Yatra in Odisha`s Puri, the Gujarat Rath Yatra attracts global attention.
"This year a link of the yatra has been provided on Facebook so that people can get an online glimpse of the Lord," the trustee said.
The chariot festival is celebrated on the second day of
Sukla Paksha (waxing cycle of moon) in the month of Ashadh.
In keeping with a centuries-old tradition, elephants will have the first glimpse of Lord Jagannath and they would lead the procession along its 14-km route.
It will pass through some sensitive areas of the city like Kalupur, Prem Darwaja, Delhi Chakla, Dariyapur and Shahpur in the old city.
The procession will travel through 127 localities of the city amidst tight security arrangements.
Two UAVs have been deployed for the first time and they would conduct aerial patrolling, monitor the procession and click digital photographs towards ensuring foolproof security, officials said.
There would be heavy deployment of police and Central Armed Paramilitary Forces for the event.
In addition to the UAVs, 20 Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras will be installed at various places.
Fourteen paramilitary companies BSF (6), RAF (4), Central Reserve Police Force (2) and Central Industrial Security Force (2) will be deployed in Ahmedabad to prevent any untoward incidents, officials said.
Eight teams of Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS), too, are part of the security arrangements.
Two DIGP-rank officers, 19 superintendents of police, 46 deputy superintendents, 160 inspectors, 100 sub-inspectors, 1,400 head constables and constables, two platoons of women police constables and 25 SRP companies have been brought in for deployment from outside the city.