66 special trains for Puri Rath Yatra

June 16th, 2009 - 9:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, June 16 (IANS) Indian Railways Tuesday announced it would run 66 special trains for the famous Rath Yatra (chariot festival) of Lord Jagannath, beginning at Orissa’s Puri June 24.
The special trains will be run during the Rath Yatra to connect Puri, 56 km from the state capital, with 16 other towns in Orissa as well as around the country, according to an East Coast Railway press release. Besides, special trains will run from and to Visakhapatnam and Palasa in Andhra Pradesh, Raipur in Chhattisgarh and Kharagpur in West Bengal.

Every year, idols of the three deities - Lord Jagannath (another name for Lord Krishna), his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra - are taken out of the 12th century Jagannath temple in chariots to another shrine called Gundicha in Puri town.

Thousands of devotees pull these chariots with ropes tied to each chariot.

The 11-day long festival is a celebration symbolic of the journey of the three deities from Dwarka to attend a religious function in Kurukshetra some 5,000 years ago.

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