Ahmedabad, July 8: The 136th edition of Lord Jagannath's 'rath yatra' will begin from the 400-year-old Jagannath temple here on July 10 amid tight security with a Facebook page started on the deity for devotees to worship and follow the yatra through the social networking website.
"The link for the Facebook page is there on the website. On the page, a photograph of Lord Jagannath's temple has been posted allowing devotees to worship online," a local priest said. (http://www.jagannathjiahd.org/live_darshan.php)
As many as 18 decorated elephants and 101 bedecked trucks, readied after meticulous preparations, will take part in the procession, the priest said. Thirty-eight 'akhadas' (local gymnasiums) will display tableau showcasing facets of Indian culture.
As per century old tradition, elephants will have the first glimpse of Lord Jagannath and would lead the procession through different parts of the city.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi would perform the symbolic cleaning of the chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balram and their sister Subhadra, besides the roads on which they will start their journey from the temple, sources said.
The 14-km route of the procession will pass through communally sensitive localities in the city like Kalupur, Prem Darwaja, Delhi Chakla, Dariyapur and Shahpur. "Lord Jagannath's rath yatra procession will begin on Wednesday morning from the 400-year-old Jagannath temple in Jamalpur are of the city.
Lakhs of devotees participate in the procession which will pass through the old city before returning to the temple in the evening," temple trustee Mahendra Jha said.
"The rath yatra undertaken in Ahmedabad is a symbol of communal harmony over the years. The procession is attended by people from all communities. Even members belonging to minority community staying in old city participate in this rath yatra and eagerly wait to welcome the chariot," Jha said.
A delicacy prepared from 25,000 kg moong dal, 400 kg mango, 200 kg pomegranate and 200 kg jamun is served as 'prasad' at the end of worship.
"In every temple, after the worship, a sweet is distributed but here, a prasad prepared from moong dal is distributed among devotees," the local priest added.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made for the rath yatra.
More than 10,000 policemen from the city and other districts have been stationed at various points for intense patrolling to thwart any untoward incident and to ensure that the procession passes off peacefully.