The Pahandi rituals for the Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath began in Puri. This year, the devotees have been allowed to participate in the Rath Yatra after a gap of two years following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Odisha police have made top-notch security arrangements keeping the expected crowd at the festival in mind.
Renowned sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik has made magnificent sand art with the message: On this Rath Yatra, let us pledge to "Say no to single-use Plastic".
He also created 125 sand chariots to mark the Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath at Puri beach.
Sudarsan Pattnaik while quoted by ANI said, "This time we have created 125 sand chariots to mark the holy Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath. It will be our new world record."
On Lord Jagannath RathYatra, Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb told ANI, "Greatest festival of the Supreme Lord is Rath Yatra which happens every year. For the last two years, devotees' participation was barred due to the pandemic but is allowed this year...Expecting huge public participation today."
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu greeted the people on the occasion of Rath Yatra.
"I convey my heartiest greetings and good wishes to the people of our country on the auspicious occasion of Rath Yatra. The Rath Yatra of Odisha, depicting the annual journey of Lord Jagannatha, considered to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, witnesses the coming together of the entire community in celebration of the grace and divinity of the Lord," he said.
As part of the Rath Yatra celebration, Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw along with Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan last night inspected the preparation at Puri Railway Station as many devotees throng to Puri by train to celebrate the festival.
The Ratha Yatra, also known as the Chariot Celebration of Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra, and Lord Balabhadra, is the most prominent Hindu festival in the Puri city of Odisha. This festival takes place every year on the second day of the Shukla Paksha in the months of June or July. This year the festival falls on July 1.