Odisha Channel Bureau
PURI: Odisha was drowned in festivities as people across the State celebrated the annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath in the coastal town of Puri and many other places on Sunday.
The rituals relating to the annual nine-day sojourn of Lord Balabhadra, Lord Jagannath and Goddess Subhadra started early in the morning.
Lakhs of devotees gathered on the Grand Road where the three chariots of the deities were set to roll down during the day.
Pahandi procession started before 11 am with Sudarshan brought to the chariot of Goddess Subhadra. The chariots were set to be pulled from the Shree Jagannath temple to Gundicha temple around 2 pm.
Millions of messages of greetings were exchanged on the occasion through SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media networks.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik greeted the people of Odisha on the occasion through social networks.
Heavy security and traffic arrangements were made in and around Puri town to make the festival smooth.
Meanwhile, State police is gearing up to have a massive security cover in place for the event.
Thousands of devotees had witnessed the Naba Jauban Darshan of Lord Balabhadra, Lord Jagannath and Goddess Subhadra on Saturday.
The Rath Yatra celebrations are being telecast by a host of television channels including Doordarshan.
The festival is also being webcast by different web portals, including http://jagannath.nic.in, the website of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration.
Rath Yatra is also being celebrated in a big way across Odisha, the prominent places being Koraput, Kendrapara, Keonjhar, Baripada, Bhadrak, Cuttack, Jajpur and Bhubaneswar.