The 138th Jangannath Rath Yatra on Saturday that coincided with Eid-al-fitr after three decades reflected the message of peace and communal harmony, as thousands of devotees, who participated in the procession with enthusiasm and joy, did not fall short on celebrating the Muslim festival too.
As several tableaus, supported on trucks which were part of the Yatra, passed through communally sensitive areas in both Ahmedabad and Vadodara amid tight security, several Muslim youths and Hindu priests were seen sharing greetings. While, many of them also reflected upon social messages like “beti bachao beti padhao” and save environment, a few sought for “gau raksha” as well.
In Ahmedabad, chariots of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balbhadra and sister Subhadara rolled were out of the 400-year-old temple in Jamalpur area of the city at around 7 am after Chief Minister Anandiben Patel performed “pahind” (ritual of cleaning the roads when the chariots roll out of the temple). BJP national president Amit Shah attended the “mangla aarti” (first puja of the day) performed in the temple at 4 am.
While coming out of the Jagannath temple, the CM wished for a joyous and peaceful Rath Yatra and she also extended her greetings for Eid.
Keeping in view the morning namaaz, the 14-km Yatra procession in Ahmedabad was delayed for an hour. The grand procession consisted of 18 colourfully decorated elephants, 100 trucks and 30 akhadas, followed by hundreds of devotees as bhajan mandalis. As per the ritual, along with the devotees nearly over 20,000 men from the ‘Khalashi’ community pulled the chariots.
In Ahmedabad, the yatra passed through communally sensitive localities, including Kalupur, Prem Darwaja, Delhi Chakla, Shapur Darwaza, Dariyapur and Shahpur. In Vadodara, it started from the railway station and took the route of Kala Ghoda, and then entered the old city area through Raopura, passing through Macchhipeeth, Nyan Mandir, Sursagar, Fire Brigade Crossroads, Market Crossroads, before winding up at Baroda High School near Polo Ground.
At communally-sensitive Macchhipeeth, several Muslim residents were seen the devotees of Lord Jagannath, while some embarked on the chariots and extended their greeting over mic.
Along the route, hundreds of kilogrammes of prasad were distributed among the devotees and bystanders.
While in Ahmedabad, UAVs, CCTV cameras and 20,000 policemen were pressed into service to ensure that both the festivals are celebrated peacefully, in Vadodara around police and paramilitary personnel helped maintain peace and harmony.