President Murmu Joins Devotees for Historic Rath Yatra in Puri

In a vibrant display of devotion, the annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath commenced in Puri on Sunday, drawing lakhs of devotees. President Droupadi Murmu, Union ministers, and Puri Shankaracharya were among the distinguished attendees.The ‘Pahandi’ ritual, marking the start of the Yatra, saw Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Devi Subhadra ascend their respective chariots amid chants of ‘Jai Jagannath’ and the reverberating sounds of gongs, conches, and cymbals. The ritual began at 11.15 am, with Lord Sudarshan being escorted first, followed by Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra. The ceremonial procession completed at 2.15 pm with Lord Jagannath’s ascent.The deities, descending from the ‘Ratna Sinhasana’ and taken out through the Lion’s Gate, saw several rituals performed before the Pahandi. Puri Shankaracharya Nischalananda Saraswati paid obeisance to the deities, and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan expressed his delight at receiving guidance from the Puri seer and blessings of Lord Jagannath.Chief Minister Mohan Charan Majhi and former Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also joined the festivities, with Patnaik praying for the welfare of the state’s people. Dibyasingha Deb, the Gajapati Maharaja of Puri, performed the Chherapahanra ritual, sweeping the chariots before they were ceremoniously pulled by devotees.Odisha Minister Rabi Narayan Naik noted the significance of the event, describing it as the biggest festival for the people of Odisha. Despite the heat and humidity, the Grand Road transformed into an ocean of humanity, with special arrangements made for President Murmu. This year marks the first time in 53 years that the Rath Yatra extends over two days, adding to the historical significance of the event.

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