Lakhs of devotees throng for Puri Rath Yatra in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Lakhs of devotees thronged to pilgrim town Puri as annual nine-day Ratha Jatra of Lord Jagannath and his siblings started on Thursday.

Devotees are eagerly waiting to pull the three majestic chariots, Nandighosa (Lord Jagannath), Taladhwaja (Balabhadra) and Darpadalan (Subhadra), which have been kept ready in front of the 12th-century shrine.

After fixing of wooden horses to the chariots, the pulling is scheduled to start by 4 pm.

The annual festival, which will commence from Jagannath temple, will conclude at Shree Gundicha temple considered as the aunt’s place of the deities.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the people of Odisha on the auspicious occasion of Rath Yatra.

“Greetings and good wishes to fellow citizens on the auspicious occasion of Rath Yatra. May the blessings of Lord Jagannath bring peace, happiness and prosperity to everyone’s lives,” the President tweeted early Thursday morning.

In a message, Vice-President Naidu said that Lord Jagannath is considered to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and Rath Yatra depicting the annual journey of Lord Jagannath, witnesses the coming together of the entire community in celebration of the grace and divinity. The splendour and grandeur of the Rath Yatra is truly unparalleled, he added. “May the pious and noble ideals associated with Rath Yatra enrich our lives with peace and harmony,” he wished.

Modi also sought blessings of Lord Jagannath for good health, happiness and prosperity of people.

“Best wishes to everyone on the special occasion of the Rath Yatra. We pray to Lord Jagannath and seek his blessings for the good health, happiness and prosperity of everyone. Jai Jagannath,” the Prime Minister tweeted.