The famous Lord Jagannath Rath Ratra, India’s one of the grandest festivals, started at Jagannath Puri, Orissa from Monday. The devotees celebrate the Lord Jagannath festival every year for ten days in Puri.
According to Hindu belief, every year in mid-summer, Lord Jagannath, with his elder brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra, goes on vacation, traveling on grand chariots, from his temple in Puri to his garden palace. This is one of the biggest religious festivals in India named as the Rath Yatra or the Chariot Festival.
The Puri Rath Yatra is actually famous for the crowd it attracts in the city. During the festival, the three deities of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are taken out in a grand procession in the oversize temple-like chariots called raths, which are pulled by thousands of devotees.
During these days, the devotees across the country come to Puri and they desire once to touch the rope of the chariot. The main chariot is 14 meters high and 10 meters square, with 16 wheels. Hundreds of devotees pull the chariot to its destination.
Before one day of the start of the Yatra, the doors of the 12th century shrine open for public after a gap of 14 days.
The meaning of this Rath Yatra is that Lord Jagannath, his brother and sister makes a visit at the garden house, Gundecha Ghar, for five days. They visit their aunt on the way. At the end of the five days, the three siblings are brought back to the Jagannath temple in a procession called the Ultarath.
According to the local administration, at least 10 lakh people were expected on Monday for darshans. For the security purposes, the district administration has deployed as many as 64 platoons of armed forces and two companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF), quick action team, bomb disposal squads and sniffer dogs to provide better security for the devotees.