Rath Yatra prep: Chariot construction begins in Odisha’s Puri city

Bhubaneswar: The construction of chariots for this year’s Rath Yatra started on the occasion of Akshaya Trutiya in Odisha’s Puri city today.

The day also marked the commencement of the 21-day Chandan Yatra of Lord Jagannath at Narendra pond in the Holy City.

The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) made elaborate arrangements for Rath Anukula or the ceremonial beginning of chariot construction for the annual Car Festival of Lord Jagannath and his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra.

The Brahmin priests of the 12th century shrine performed all rituals prior to the beginning of chariot construction work, said an official of SJTA.

As per the tradition, three logs were placed at Rath Yard in front of the SJTA office in Puri and the priests performed a Yajna to mark the beginning of the chariot construction work.

Soon after the completion of the Yajna, the ‘Agyanmala’ of the sibling deities were brought from Srimandir in a procession and handed over to three carpenters (Vishwakarmas) authorizing them to build the chariots, said the official.

Representative deities of Lord Jagannath and his siblings were also brought to the Rath Yard in palanquins during the performance of Rath Anukula ritual.

The chariot construction began soon after the priests consecrated the three logs by reciting hymns, he added.

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