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Preparations underway for Rathyatra; CM, Shah to offer prayers

Saturday, Jul 2, 2016,15:37 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Ahmedabad | Lord Jagannath temple authorities today said here that elaborate preparations have been made for the 139th Rathyatra in the city, with BJP President Amit Shah and Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel in attendance at the upcoming annual event on July 6.

Chief Minister Patel will participate in the prayer that is held on the eve of the procession on Tuesday and will also be there to perform ‘pahind’ ceremony (symbolic cleaning of road ahead of the Yatra) on Wednesday morning. The massive yatra is taken out every year on Asadhi Bij, or second day of the month of Ashad as per Hindu calender.

According to Mahendra Jha, a trustee of Shree Jagannathji Mandir Trust, which organises the procession, Shah will participate in the ‘aarti’ to be held at the dawn on Wednesday before the procession starts.

State BJP chief Vijay Rupani, health minister Nitin Patel and Congress leaders including Leader of Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela and state Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki are among other political leaders who will grace the occasion, Jha said.

Governor O P Kohli will also remain present during the ritual to be held on Monday when the eyes of the three deities are blind-folded amidst Vedic chants. The traditional yatra pases through the Muslim-dominated localities amid tight security arrangements. It will pass through its traditional 14-kilometre route including Khadia Crossroads, Kalupur Circle, Prem Darwaza, Shahpur Darwaza and Manek Chowk, before ending near the temple located at Jamalpur. Several localities along the route of the chariot are communally sensitive.

Eighteen decked-up elephants will lead the colourful procession, which will have 101 trucks displaying different hues of Indian culture, Jha said. As many as 1,000-1,200 persons including holy men visiting from different parts of the country will lend their support to pull the chariot which will have the idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balbhadra and their sister Subhadra. Before the yatra, there will be a tribal dance programme.

The procession will be held amid tight security arrangements. Apart from tight security arrangements made by the police, the temple trust has also made special arrangements including CCTV cameras and private security personnel, Jha said.

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