Ahmedabad, Jul 6 (PTI) The 139th edition of Lord Jagannath rath yatra passed off peacefully in the city today amid tight security arrangements with lakhs of devotees thronging to catch a glimpse of the deity and even people from minority community giving a warm welcome to the procession.
The chariots of Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Balbhadra and their sister Subhadra commenced their journey this morning on the 15 kilometer route here after Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel performed Pahind Vidhi- a symbolic ritual of cleaning way for the Raths, at 400-year-old Jagannath temple in Jamalpur area.
BJP chief Amit Shah also visited the temple at around 4 am and took part in the Mangla Aarti.
The procession that stretches up to 1.5 km, comprised 18 decorated elephants, 101 trucks, around 30 religious congregations and around 20 singing troupes followed by three chariots.
The rath yatra moved through some communally sensitive areas like Jamalpur, Kalupur, Shahpur and Dariyapur throughout the day and finally came back to the temple late evening after almost 12 hours.
Displaying the spirit of brotherhood and communal harmony, minority community welcomed the chariots on various points of the city in Muslim dominated areas with garlands and other offerings. Hindu devotees also greeted Muslims on the occasion of Eid.
As part of the tradition, chief priest of the Jagannath temple Dilipdasji Maharaj was offered a shawl at Dariyapur by local Muslim leaders. In return, the mahant, who is equally revered by local Muslims, gave a donation of Rs 3,100 for a local mosque in Dariyapur.
“This tradition was set by the very first mahant of Jagannath temple as a mark of brotherhood and harmony. Today, Dilipdasji gave us Rs 3,100 as his donation to the local mosque, while we greeted him with a shawl, a practice followed by almost five generations of this area,” local corporator of Dariyapur, Hasan Pathan, said.
This time, a tableaux featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi caught everyones attention, as the entire truck was covered with life-size photos of Modi shaking hands with various heads of state, including Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and many others.
Elaborate security arrangements were made by police to avoid any untoward incident during the yatra.
Joint Commissioner of Police, city crime branch, J K Bhatt said 18,000 security personnel, including of police, state reserve police and central para-military forces, were deployed at various locations along the route. PTI PJT KA PD NRB NP RG