The Pahandi rituals for the Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath began in Odisha's Puri. The participation of devotees in the Rath Yatra has been allowed this time after a gap of two years following the COVID pandemic.
Odisha Police have made top-notch security arrangements keeping the expected crowd at the festival in mind. Renowned sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik has made magnificent sand art with the message: On this Rath Yatra, let us pledge to "Say no to single-use Plastic". He also created 125 sand chariots to mark the Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath at Puri beach.
Sudarsan Pattnaik said, "This time we have created 125 sand chariots to mark the holy Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath. It will be our new world record." On Lord Jagannath RathYatra, Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb said, "Greatest festival of the Supreme Lord is Rath Yatra which happens every year. For the last two years, devotees' participation was barred due to the pandemic but is allowed this year...Expecting huge public participation today." Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu greeted the people on the occasion of Rath Yatra.
"I convey my heartiest greetings and good wishes to the people of our country on the auspicious occasion of Rath Yatra. The Rath Yatra of Odisha, depicting the annual journey of Lord Jagannatha, considered to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, witnesses the coming together of the entire community in celebration of the grace and divinity of the Lord," he said.
Earlier, Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw along with Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan last night inspected the preparation for Jagannath Rath Yatra at Puri Railway Station. The Ratha Yatra, also known as the Chariot Celebration of Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra, and Lord Balabhadra, is the most prominent Hindu festival in the Puri city of Odisha. This festival takes place every year on the second day of the Shukla Paksha in the months of June or July. This year the festival falls on July 1.