Puri (Orissa), July 4 : Foreigners are among the tens of thousands of devotees who joined the annual juggernaut of Lord Jagannath in Puri (Orissa) on Friday for an annual Rath yatra festival, marked by an elaborate procession and great fanfare.
Orissa's coastal city Puri, believed to be Lord, Jagannath's abode, witnessed one of world's most amazing spectacles even before the actual procession started.
From the sea of humans that have congregated here, it seemed as if devotees had poured in from all over the world to participate in the massive procession.
"It is great to be here. We traveled three days just to get here, just to see the festival, just to enjoy, see other people experience spiritual life of India. It is fantastic, we really like it here," said Nick Moul, a foreign tourist.
Pascala, another foreign tourist added, "I feel marvelous, I feel the energy of all the people and I think Indian people are most colourful people in the world. I love India. It has stolen my heart, all colours and the music and dancing and everybody is happy and celebrating I am really enjoying."
Amid tight security the festival is celebrated by pulling the chariots of Lord Jagannath, along with sister Subhadra and brother Balram from the temple through the city's decorated streets, for over six hours.
Hindus believe that Lord Jagannath, with his elder brother and sister, goes on vacation, travelling on grand chariots from his abode in Puri to his garden palace in the countryside.
The yatra or the procession is a round trip from the main temple to another nearby temple where the idols of the deities rest for seven days before their return to the main temple.
The Rath Yatra is held in June-July and has been going on for the last ten centuries though the existing temple was built in 12th century A.D.
According to Hindu believers, Lord Jagannath is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the preserver.