Idols of Lord Jagannath and his siblings were placed on their respective chariots on Tuesday, following spectacular ceremonial Pahandi rituals.
With chants of Hari Bol and Jay Jagannath, sounds of gongs, conches and cymbals, the three holy deities — Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra were brought by their servitors from the ‘Ratna Simhasan’ and placed on the chariots for the annual nine-day sojourn.
The Pahandi Bije was started with Lord Balabhadra, followed by Devi Subhadra and that of Lord Jagannath. Servitors escorted the idols of the deities from ‘Ratna Simhasan’ to their respective chariots- Taladhwaja, Darpadalana and Nandighosa – in the ceremonial procession. The Pahandi Bije ritual was completed on time.
After completion of Pahandi rituals, Puri Shankaracharya Nischalananda Saraswati paid obeisance to the holy trinity on their chariots.
Puri king Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha will perform Chhera Pahara, the ceremony in which he sweeps all chariots, one after another, very shortly. The chariot pulling is scheduled to begin with Lord Balabhadra’s Taladhwaja at 4 p.m.
Millions of devotees in Odisha and across the world throng the pilgrim town to get a glimpse of the trinity.
Tight security arrangements have been put in place for smooth completion of the Rath Yatra. The pilgrim town has been divided into 14 zones and 29 sectors. About 180 platoons of police personnel have been deployed in and around Puri town.
For the first time a Coast Guard helicopter has been deployed to patrol the beach. Interceptor boats are stationed at Paradip, ready for any contingency, till July 2.
The railways install face recognising cameras on the railway platforms to screen the crowd of suspicious people.