New Delhi: The 44th Ratha Jatra celebration was held at the main Jagannath Temple, in Hauz Khas Village of the National Capital.
Around 50,000 enthusiastic devotees were assembled to be a part of the annual chariot pulling ceremony of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra.
Religious rituals prior to the Ratha Jatra began from the wee hours of the day. The managing body of the Temple Shree Neelachala Seva Sangha ensured that the wearing of masks was a must among the crowd. Around 11.30 am, the four deities were taken in Pahandi to a 25-feet high, colourfully decorated chariot stationed at the Grand Road in front of the temple. With the recitals of hymns, roaring of slogans like ‘Haribol’ and ‘Jai Jagannath’, sounds of huluhuli, blowing of conch and playing of musical instruments such as ghanta, kartala, mardala, jhanja and mrudanga by the devotees, the secretary of Neelachala Seva Sangha and philanthropist Rabindra Nath Pradhan conducted the traditional service of sweeping on the chariot ‘Chherapahanra’.
Around 2.45 pm, the chariot pulling was started. The royal chariot with the four deities on-board was pulled in Shri Aurobindo Marg for around 2.5km to Ansari Nagar and then taken back to temple premises in the evening.
Devotees gathered on both sides of the road for the holy darshan of the Lord of the Universe. Then the deities remained on the chariot for public viewing till night. At about 10 pm, all the four deities were taken to the makeshift aunt house at the basement of the temple.
Distinguished guests attending the festival included vice chairman of NDMC Satish Upadhyay and MLA Somnath Bharati. Laxmi Narayan Bebarta and Dr. Sarojini Pani did a live narration of the mega event.
The entire arrangements were managed and executed by the members of managing committee which include secretary Rabindra Nath Pradhan, Abhaya Pradhan, Ashok Pradhan (A), Khirod Patra, Gajendra Samanta, Abhiram Sutar, Ashok Pradhan (B), Jitendra Mohapatra, Ajay Pradhan, Pankaj Mohanty, Nishidha Kumar Das, Rankanidhi Sahoo, Ram Chandra Das, Bijay Sahoo, Bighneshwar Rout, Dillip Kumar Swain, Kishore Samal, Amulya Ojha, Sukanta Sahu and manager of Temple Rashmiranjan Behera.