June 29, 2014
Ashadha Shukla Paksha Dwitiya, Kaliyug Varsha 5116
Chariots of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra andSubhadra at the annual
Over 10 lakh devotees witnessed the world famous annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath held here on Sunday with religious fervour and enthusiasm amid tight security as the practice of people climbing the chariots was stopped in a major reform initiative.
Devotees from across the country and abroad descended on the pilgrim town of Puri in Odisha for a glimpse of the presiding deities of the 12th century shrine of Sri Jagannath and mingled with the sea of humanity during the annual festival of chariots. “The festival was held peacefully in a smooth manner. There was no untoward incident as elaborate security measures were taken,” a senior police officer said.
Devotees poured in to the seaside town since early morning to watch the ceremony and pull the three majestic and colourful chariots on the ‘bada danda,’ the grand avenue.
A host of VIPs including Odisha Governor S.C. Jamir and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik witnessed the proceedings.
Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati did not visit the chariots before they were pulled accusing the Odisha government of interfering in religious matters by asking him to ascend the raths (chariots) alone without his disciples.
“The state government has dared to dictate terms to the Shankaracharya of Puri. I will not visit the chariots before they are pulled for Rath Yatra,” Saraswati had told reporters at the Govardhan Peeth in Puri on Saturday.
Source: The Hindu