Ahmedabad, July 1: The 145th Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath on Friday commenced in the city amid tight security as lakhs of devotees flocked the 18-km route to catch a glimpse of the deity.
Before the procession began, Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel performed pahind vidhi – a symbolic ritual of cleaning the way for the chariots using a golden broom.
In the early hours, Union Home Minister Amit Shah took part in mangla aarti (auspicious ritual to pay obeisance to Lord) of the deities in the temple. The chariots of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balbhadra and sister Subhadra, then embarked on the yatra from the 400- year-old Jagannath temple located in Jamalpur area.
This year, besides the three chariots of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balram and sister Subhadra, the Rath Yatra procession comprises nearly 15 decorated elephants, 100 trucks with tableaux and members of religious groups, akharas (local gyms) and singing troupes. Moreover, 25,000 security personnel, including those from the Central Armed Police Forces, are deployed at strategic locations along the yatra route to prevent any untoward incident, officials said.