Bhubaneswar: Braving the scorching sun, thousands of devotees today thronged Old Town in Bhubaneswar to pull the Rukuna Rath held to mark Ashokashtami.
The ritual of pulling the chariot, however, started more than one-and-half hour late of the schedule and it was stopped near Badheibanka after sunset. It will again be pulled tomorrow morning.
Hordes of servitors cordoned by police personnel brought out the bronze images of three deities, Chandrasekhar (the representative of lord Lingaraj), Rukmini and Basudeva, from the Lingaraj Temple and after all the rituals were performed the idols were placed on the 35-feet high majestically decorated chariot parked outside the shrine amid loud blowing of conchs and chanting of hymns.
The Rath will be pulled again on Sunday till the Mausimaa temple. The Bahuda Yatra (return sojourn of the Lord) will be held on April 17.
Around 20 platoons of police personnel have been deployed to maintain law and order.