Rath Yatra 2018: Schedule, Significance, Security Arrangements for Odisha’s Annual Lord Jagannath Puri Procession
Rath Yatra (Photo Credits: PTI)

The annual Jagannath Rath Yatra held in Odisha's Puri beach begins on Saturday. It starts on July 14 this year. The Rath Yatra marks the journey of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balbhadra and Goddess Subadhra from the Puri temple to their aunt's place, Gundicha temple. The 141st Rath Yatra that will start from the 400-year-old temple in Jamalpur will pass through Khamasa, Raipur, Kalupur, Prem Darwaza, Dariapur, Delhi Chakla, and Shahpur.

The diety which will be kept at Gundicha temple built on the lines of Puri Jagannath temple will be kept there until the Ulta Rath, which will be held on July 22. Lakhs of devotees are expected to visit the temple for the Rath Yatra.

It is believed that the sins of those who get an opportunity to pull the rath or cart on its way will be washed away.

All the three chariots are decorated beautifully and have a distinct look and name. Lord Jagannath's chariot is known as Garudadhwaja, Nandighosha or Kapiladhwaja. The deity is accompanied by Madanmohan. Balabhadra's chariot is named Taladhwaja/Langaladhwaja and Subadhra and Sudarshana ride on a chariot named Padmadhwaja, Darpadalana or Devadalana.

The procession will start from Rajapur at 2.30pm with dance music and chanting of mantras. Devotees will play drums, trumpets and cymbals on the way. They also shower the deities with flowers, fruits and other delicacies on the way. According to Drikpanchang, Dwitiya Tithi begins at 4:32 am on July 14 and ends at 00:55 am on July 15.

Arrangements made for Puri's Rath Yatra 2018

The state police have arranged massive security arrangements for the yatra. The Bhubaneswar New station was among a host of infrastructure projects inaugurated ahead of Rath Yatra festival beginning from July 14. A mobile app for Rath Yatra, a MEMU shed at Khurda Road station and new foot over bridge at Bhubaneswar station were also unveiled.

All hotels in Puri are under the close watch of the police force. Adequate security personnel has also been deployed along the coast. The city police will use an Israeli helium balloon with a high-resolution camera to keep check during the yatra. To ensure the security of the tourists, around 8,000 police personnel have been deployed along with anti-bomb squad, ODRAF and Rapid Action Force have been deployed. The police had approached the Civil Aviation Ministry to declare Bada Danda (grand road) as a 'No Flying Zone', however, Union Civil Aviation Ministry denied.