Ahmedabad set for 131st Jagannth Rath Yatra Friday

July 4th, 2008 - 12:19 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Narendra Modi

Ahmedabad, July 3 (IANS) Ahmedabad is all set for the 131st annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath Friday amid heavy security arrangements. The three chariots of the annual procession will be flagged off by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi from the Jagannath temple in Jamalpur Friday morning. After traversing 18-km route, passing thrrough some areas identified as communally sensitive, the procession will return to the temple in the evening.

Police made elaborate security arrangements to avoid any untoward incidents during the procession. City Police Commissioner O.P. Mathur has appealed to the people not to go by any rumours. The atmosphere in the city is congenial and festive, he said.

Banners and arches have been erected on the route, welcoming the yatra. The three chariots carrying the idols of Lord Jagannath (Krishna), his brother Balabhadra and their sister Subhadra are usually accompanied by thousands of devotees.

One of the main attractions of the procession will be caparisoned elephants. This year the procession will include 16 elephants, 98 trucks, 30 akhadas or local gyms, 18 bhajan groups, music bands and devotees on foot. Around 2,000 sadhus from across the country too are expected to join.

The Rath Yatra of Ahmedabad stands next to the Puri festival in grandeur and crowd-pulling. However, unlike in Puri, the yatra in Ahmedabad has a history of communal skirmishes - the last time the yatra was marred by violence was in 1992.

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