Ahmedabad, July 10: Over 1.5 lakh people comprising the entire entourage of Rath yatra and devotees were today served 'Mahabhoj'(prasad) in Saraspur locality as per the chariot fest tradition.
Devotees were served the 'Mahabhoj' (prasad) as part of the rath yatra which culminates at the 400-year old iconic Lord Jagannath temple, by evening.
The yatra halts for over an hour in the area and then restarts its journey to the temple in Jamalpur. Heavy rains marked the return of yatra from Saraspur, which is considered to be auspicious by seers and citizens here.
Over a dozen pols (cluster of homes) in Saraspur had established kitchens to serve poori, saag (vegetable), phoolwadi and mohanthaal (sweet), in prasad to the devotees. "Over a dozen pols like Luwar Seri, Salwiwal ni pol, Amliwad, Panchawad, Limbda in Saraspur have made elaborate arrangements to serve prasad to over 1.5 lakh devotees," a priest at Ranchhod Rai temple at Saraspur, said.
"A few pols have made arrangements for sharbat, butter milk (chaas), water and offered it to devotees who have to traverse the 14-kilometre long route through the city," he said.
People of some pols collect money by way of voluntary contributions from each household and make preparations at least 15 days in advance to serve Maha Bhoj in the chariot festival, locals informed. "For the first time we are hosting 'mahabhoj' in our pol. All the households contributed generously towards this noble cause so that we could make arrangements to serve prasad to over 4,000 devotees today," said Balwant Patel of Mahakali Taliya Ka Pol Yuva Mandal.
Over 4,000 volunteers have rendered their services to make this grand 'Mahabhoj' ceremony a success, locals said.
As per tradition 'Mamera' a gift from maternal uncle is given to Lord Jagannath on his arrival in Saraspur. In the custom, a person is selected to offer gifts to the Lord. The person has to register about a decade ago to be the lucky one to offer it to the Lord, locals said.
According to legend, after receiving the gift the Lord returns to Jagannath.