Jagannath Rath Yatra begins, PM Narendra Modi sends offerings, Amit Shah attends 'aarti' in Ahmedabad

Nearly 10 lakh devotees from across the country and abroad are likely to attend the 9-day long festival.

Jagannath Rath Yatra begins, PM Narendra Modi sends offerings, Amit Shah attends 'aarti' in Ahmedabad
File photo

BHUBANESHWAR: The nine-day long annual Jagannath Rath Yatra festival commenced from Saturday amid tight security arrangements in Odisha's Puri with religious fervor. 

Nearly 10 lakh devotees from across the country and abroad are likely to attend the 9-day long festival. PM Narendra Modi on Saturday took to Twitter and extended his greetings on the auspicious occasion of the annual Jagannath Rath Yatra. 

''With the blessings of Lord Jagannath, may our country scale new heights of growth. May every Indian be happy and prosperous,'' the PM tweeted. The PM also shared a video of the three presiding deities of the famous temple. 

On the eve of the annual Jagannath Rath Yatra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sent traditional offerings to the Lord Jagannath temple.

Modi has been sending offerings to the temple ahead of the Rath Yatra for the last many years.

"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.

According to temple trustee Mahendra Jha, Modi had stayed in the temple for a brief period during his early days.

"Since he (Modi) stayed here during his early life when he was not a known figure, Modi is attached to the temple," he said.

Sprouted green gram and jamun are traditionally offered to Lord Jagannath during the chariot procession.

Amit Shah attends Aarti in Ahmedabad 

BJP president Amit Shah, who is in Gujarat, attended the early morning prayers at the Lord Jagannath Temple in Ahmedabad shortly before the commencement of the 9-day Rath Yatra in Puri.

He participated in the "mangla aarti" at the Jagannath Temple, the party said. 

The BJP chief will also address a Youth Parliament' at a private university in Gandhinagar.

Here are some visuals of the annual Jagannath Rath Yatra from Jagannath Temple in Ahmedabad. 

Heavy security arrangements for Jagannath Rath Yatra

As many as 140 platoons of the 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.

(With Agency inputs)

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