Over 10 lakh devotees thronged Puri yesterday to witness the spectacles of Rath Yatra 2013. People celebrated the Rath Yatra with much fanfare and religious fervour. They were high on enthusiasm and spirit. The devotees included thousands of foreigners, who came to Puri to get a glimpse of Lord Jagannath, who ventures out only once in a year. Otherwise, Puri Temple is forbidden for the non-Hindus.
The festival was held peacefully, but a Sevayat (Servitor) Bhramar Bhoi got badly injured as the wheel of the Lord Jagannath’s chariot ‘Nandighosh’ ran over his leg, which was amputated at the SCB Medical and College and Hospital in Cuttack. Tight security arrangements were made across Puri in the wake of Bodhgaya blasts in Bihar.
While Lord Balabhadra’s chairot ‘Taladhwaj’ reached the Gundicha Temple, ‘Nandighosh’ and ‘Devadalan’ were stuck following the incident. The chariot should reach the Gundicha Temple this morning. Earlier, Puri Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb did the “chhera panhara” using a golden broom. Amidst the chants of slokas and other rituals, the deities began their journey from the main temple.
Over 7,000 policemen and personnel of Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS), Rapid Action Force (RAF) and sharp shooters were deployed across the Rath Yatra route. The Coast Guard has kept a vigil on the sea. A large number VVIPs, including Odisha Governor SC Jamir and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik attended the Rath Yatra 2013.
Braving the scorching heat and later rains in the afternoon, the devotees gathered in large numbers and pulled the chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra with high devotion. The deities will be staioned at the Gundicha Temple for nine days and make their return journey (Bahuda Yatra) on July 18.