Amid tight security, the 137th Lord Jagannath’s rathyatra began on Sunday morning, with Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel creating history to be the first female CM to perform the pahindvidhi at Jamalpur’s Jagannath temple.
On the occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted people and prayed for peace, prosperity and rains in the country.
As per the century old tradition, elephants had the first glimpse of Lord Jagannath and are leading the procession through different parts of the city.
The chief minsiter reached Jagannath temple at around 6.45 am and performed the ‘Pahind Vidhi’ for the rathyatra with a ‘golden-broom’ (symbolic cleaning of the path for chariot of Lord Jagannath).
“On Ashaadhi Dooj (second day of waxing moon cycle in the Hindu month of Ashadh), performed Pahind Vidhi to mark the beginning of Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath,” Anandi Patel said on twitter.
After setting off from the over 400 year-old iconic temple, the rathyatra will traverse through about 14 kilometre route in the city.
As many as 18 elephants led the rath yatra followed by 98 trucks and a participation of 30 akhada and several bhajan mandali the rath yatra will cover a distance of 18 kilometre covering some of the communal sensitive areas of old Ahmedabad city including Dariyapur and Shahpur.
Hundrerds of devotees thronged the city streets across the route amid tight security right from early morning to witness the rath yatra that will conclude by evening. The procession halts at Saraspur, where the local people offer ‘Maha Bhoj’ to the entire entourage.
PM Modi, who used to perform ‘Pahind Vidhi’(symbolic path cleaning on chariot of Lord Jagannath) when he was the chief minister of Gujarat, recollected the fond memories and said that he cherished that experience. He was the only chief minister, who performed the ‘Pahind Vidhi’ ritual for record 12 times.
“As Gujarat CM, I had the honour to perform the Pahind Vidhi ritual during the Yatra in Ahmedabad. It is an experience I really cherished,” Modi tweeted.
“We bow to Lord Jagannath on this auspicious day. Today once again he sets out on his chariot, giving blessings to the people…My warm greetings to the people on the occasion of the Rath Yatra that would be held across India today,” Modi said on the microblogging site twitter.
We pray to Lord Jagannath for peace, prosperity and happiness in India. May Lord Jagannath bless us with good monsoon that will help farmers,” Modi said.
(With PTI inputs)