After a gap of two years due to Covid-19, Ahmedabad held the 145th ‘Rath Yatra’ celebrations with reverberating chants of ‘Jai Jagannath’ and ‘Jai Ranchhod, Makhan Chor’ by devotees which assembled for the yatra from across the country.
The rituals for the yatra started early Friday morning when Union Home Minister Amit Shah did the ‘mangala aarti’ at around 4 a.m after which silk bands from dieties — Lord Jagannathji, Subhadra and Balramji’s eyes were removed.
The dieties were offered with ‘bhog’ and were later taken to the chariots.
Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel did the ‘pahind vidhi’ with the golden broom and State Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi also joined him.
More than 100 decorated trucks, 18 decorated elephants and more than 10 akhadas joined the yatra.
More than 25,000 police personnel and armed forces beefed up security to the Jagannath rath yatra. The yatra completed an 18km route in 13 hours.
Millions of people worshiped God and took blessings of dieties — Lord Jagannath, Balbhadra and Subhadra.
Worshippers were excited this year that they were celebrating the occasion since Thursday evening in large numbers at the Jagannath temple in Ahmedabad.
Along with Ahmedabad, Surat, Baroda, Bhavnagar and other cities also witnessed smaller versions of Rath Yatra on Friday.
The Chief Minister appreciated and expressed gratitude towards people of Gujarat for organising the yatra peacefully.
There was a minor accident in Shahpur area of Ahmedabad where a cabin roof collapsed just after the yatra entered the area in which more than 20 people were reportedly left injured in this incident.
Police Commissioner, other police officers and the Union Home minister were present there at that time and joined for the rescue and relief work.
Jagannath temple chief priest Mahant Dilipdas was welcomed by Ahmedabad Mayor Kirit Parmar, Deputy Mayor and Standing Committee members at Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.
Millions of people assembled at Saraspur where they were served lunch at community kitchens run by the locals.
Police and armed forces maintained tight security with helicopters, drones, body worn cameras, GPS systems, camera vans and eight security checkpoints.
All the trucks were passed through anti-sabotage checks and distributed nearly thousands of kilos of toffees, sweets, fruits and sprouts to the people who gathered on roads throughout the route taken during the Rath yatra.
All the communities in the city joined the yatra with brotherhood and sovereignty, offering help during the rath yatra.
All three raths and elephants returned to the Jagannath temple around 8.30 p.m.