The festival marks the annual journey of the three deities from the 12th century Jagannath temple in three splendidly decorated wooden chariots, pulled by devotees, to the Gundicha temple, around three km away.
The annual Ratha Yatra (chariot procession) of Lord Jagannath, his brother Bhalabhadra and sister Subhadra began at Odisha’s beach town of Puri amid tight security Wednesday, officials said.
The ceremonial procession of the deities known as Pahandi – carrying the deities out of the temple to the chariots – started at 9.45 a.m., Laxmidhar Pujapanda, public relations officer of the temple administration, told IANS.
More than 800,000 devotees reached the town, some 55 km from the state capital Bhubaneswar, by 11.30 am. Their numbers could swell to more than a million by evening, Pujapanda said.
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