Lakhs of devotees have thronged the pilgrim town Puri to witness the annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath and his siblings on Tuesday, which is set to roll as various rituals are being carried out.
The three majestic chariots now stand tall in front of the Singha Dwar of the temple facing East towards Gundicha temple. They have been kept ready and will be pulled by devotees this afternoon.
The Taladhwaja Rath for Lord Balabhadra, the Darpadalan Rath for Goddess Subhadra and the Nandighosa Rath for Lord Jagannath each have their own colours, height, diameter, wooden horses, guardian deities and even charioteers.
The rituals began with ‘Mangala Arati’ at 6 a.m., followed by ‘Mailam’ and ‘Vesha’, ‘Rosha Homa’ and ‘Surya Puja’ – all part of rituals. Then ‘Gopal Bhog’ and ‘Khichidi Bhog’ was offered to the deities.
‘Pahandi’ of the deities is scheduled to start by 9.30 a.m. while Chherapahanra of the chariots by Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb would be performed by 3.30 p.m. After fixing wooden horses to the chariots, the pulling is scheduled to start in the afternoon from 4 p.m.
Lord Balabhadra would lead the chariot procession riding Taladhwaja. It will be followed by Devi Subhadra in Darpadalana. Lord Jagannath would go riding Nandighosa in the end.
The state government has made all arrangements keeping in view the heatwave conditions. Water sprinkling is being done by the fire service personnel. Sufficient drinking water facilities, including the distribution of water bottles have been made for the devotees, officials said.
Tight security arrangements have been made in and around Puri town for the festival. The pilgrim town has been divided into 14 zones and 29 sectors.
About 180 platoons of police personnel have been deployed in and around Puri town.
For the first time a Coast Guard helicopter has been deployed to patrol the beach. Interceptor boats stationed at Paradip are ready for any contingency till July 2.
The Railways have installed face recognising cameras on the railway platforms to screen any suspicious person.
A large number of CCTV cameras assisted by drone cameras are connected to a number of control stations installed for the Rath Yatra.
Under a special mobility plan an advisory on the vehicular movement to Puri has been issued.
All inter-state tourist buses and local tourist buses are parked at the Malatipatpur bus stand. Other daily passenger-carrying buses are allowed up to Talabania temporary bus stand via Malatipatapur railway over bridge, Toshali Sands, Grid Station Chhak and Bhudan Chhaka.
The vehicles on the Bhubaneswar-Puri route and Konark are allowed to park near grid substation and Talabania area while vehicles coming from Brahmagiri are parked in the Florence India Garden parking space.
Puri town shuttle buses/ auto-rickshaw will be allowed from Talabania to Zilla School Chhaka.
Two-wheelers will avail parking at Jagannath Ballav, Masanichandi, Matitota parking, Nilachala Ashok and Blue Flag beach.
All Light Motor Vehicles (LMV) like cars and SUVs can avail parking facilities. At the parking places at indoor stadium, helipad, Sanskrit University parking, ID College Parking, Nalifield and Yatrika.
For smooth darshan of the Lords by devotees, some shuttle services. Have been rolled out from Talabania to Zilla School Chhaka and From Malatipatapur to Atharanala.
Besides, the areas from Atharanala Chhaka to Hospital Chhaka. And from Hospital Chhaka to Subash Bose Crossing have been announced as no vehicle zones.
The regulation of vehicles will remain effective till mid-night on Tuesday.