Pradhan, Manoj Tewari lead Jagannath Yatra celebrations in Delhi

New Delhi [India], June 25 (ANI): Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas (Independent Charge) Dharmendra Pradhan and the president of the Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Manoj Tewari, were seen actively participating in the Jagannath Rath Yatra in Delhi on Sunday.
The celebrations, which were flagged off from Jagannath Temple in Hauz Khas, saw thousands of devotes throng the temple premise to attain the blessings of the lord on the auspicious occasion.
Pradhan and devotees present at the venue pulled the chariot, as it is believed that doing so adds to your good Karma, and is penance for your bad deeds.
Earlier in the day, celebrations in Odisha's coastal Balasore town got off to a colourful start amid fanfare and religious fervor, attracting lakhs of pilgrims from India and abroad.
Organised by the Shree Shree Jagannath Mandir, Emami Nagar, Balgopalpur, the rath yatra saw tens of thousands of devotees lining up both sides of the streets to see the 32-feet high colourful chariot carrying the idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balarama and their sister Devi Subhadra.
Devotees shouted joyous chants of 'Jai Jagannath' and 'Hare Krishna' as the chariot rolled out from majestic Shree Shree Jagannath Mandir pulled by about 1,000 devotees using coarse jute ropes. The chariot has been modelled as the one made in Puri.
The festival began with people blowing conches, trumpets, and playing drums and crashing cymbals, accompanied by music and dancers from holy town of Vrindaban.
Devotees began their journey from the Shree Shree Jagannath Mandir, Emami Nagar, Balgopalpur amidst the chanting of shlokas, singing of bhajans and clanking of cymbals.
The prime ritual of the day, 'Chhera Pahanra' (sweeping of the chariots) with a broom that has a gold handle was solemnised by the founders of temples and their family members, which was followed by sprinkling of holy water and sandal.
They later decorated the chariot with flowers. The street through which the chariot passed was also cleaned with and sandalwood was sprinkled on it.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah, who currently is in Ahmedabad, attended the 'Mangla Aarti' at the Shree Jagannath Temple here on Sunday early morning.
Originating in Puri, the Yatra is considered to be of high religious sanctity and marks the return on Lord Krishna to his place Vrindavan along with his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra.
A 5000-year-old tradition, the Jagannath Rath Yatra attracts a million of Hindu pilgrims from all over the country to come to the state and join the procession.
The Yatra is a journey of three chariots of deities, which cover a distance of three kilometers reaching the Shri Gundicha Temple. The deities are made to stay there for nine days, following which the chariots ride back to the Shree Jagannath Temple.
This year the festival starts from today with the return of chariots to take place on July 3.(ANI)

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