July 13, 2021 3:33:44 am
The 144th Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad was completed before Monday noon, without its usual festivities, under a curfew implemented in parts of the city, as devotees watched the live proceedings on television.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel flagged off the yatra by pulling the decorated chariots of Lord Jagannath from the Lord Jagannath Temple premises near Jamalpur Darwaza on Monday around 7 am.
The procession which was 19 kilometres from Jamalpur Darwaza to Sarapur was completed by 10 am and the chariots returned to the temple by noon. Except for the priests, temple trust members and police force, no other devotees were allowed to assemble near the chariots as Rupani appealed to citizens to watch the proceedings of Yatra live on television.
On this occasion, CM Rupani said, “Today on the occasion of sacred Ashadhi Beej Diwas (day), the Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra has begun. May Lord Jagannath bless Gujarat and do krupa on us. We want that Gujarat now becomes corona free and the situation returns to normalcy, and Gujarat becomes first to come out of the pandemic. Today this yatra has been taken out following the Covid guidelines and SOPs. By afternoon, the yatra will return to the temple marking the end of today’s festive celebrations.”
This year, the state government had announced to take out the procession amid a curfew wherein only three chariots will be part of the procession, amid the pandemic.
Last year, for the first time in a tradition of 143 years, the Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra was cancelled by an order of the Gujarat High Court, amid the pandemic.
The yatra this year was taken out amid heavy security as over 1,200 personnel of Gujarat Police, state reserve police (SRP) and paramilitary forces along with units of bomb squads, dog squads, special protection group (SPG), Netra and drone team have been deployed over the 19 kilometres from Jamalpur Darwaza to Saraspur.
Traditionally, over 2 to 3 lakh devotees all across Gujarat join part of Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra every year amid much fanfare.
Rupani also congratulated the people of Kutch on the occasion of Kutchhi New Year.
“Due to krupa of Lord Jagannath, there has been rainfall last night in the entire Gujarat which is blessings for the farmers who were worried. We pray that this year becomes auspicious for us. I congratulate my brothers and sisters of Kutch for the Kutchhi New Year (Ashadhi Beej)today. We have recently approved to give one million acre-feet of water to Kutch which will be an answer to their water problem. In the coming times, Kutch’s prosperity will only rise.”
Ahead of the yatra, the Ahmedabad city police on Sunday night had held 51 persons under sections of code of criminal procedure (CRPC) as preventive detention.
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