Tens of thousands take part in Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra in Balasore

Balasore (Odisha) [India], June 25 (ANI): The annual Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra in Odisha's coastal Balasore town got off to a colourful start amid fanfare and religious fervor on Sunday, attracting lakhs of pilgrims from India and abroad.
Organised by the Shree Shree Jagannath Mandir, Emami Nagar, Balgopalpur on Sunday, 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.
R K Jena, Member of Parliament and Pramod Kumar Das, District Collector, Balasore performed the `maha aarti' on the Rath for Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra before start of colorful procession amid religious chants.
The preparation of the chariot started on the day of Akshay Tritiya. It is believed that pulling this rope is like adding to your good Karma, and doing penance for your bad deeds.
"The Bahuda Yatra will be on July 3 when the deity will return to its original resting place," said Sushil Goenka, a trustee of the temple. (ANI)

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