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Rath Ready For Trinity

Puri: The three majestic chariots now stand tall in front of the Lions’ Gate facing East and waiting for Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Sudarshan to take them to Shree Gundicha temple.

After completion of rituals, the three chariots were brought to the Lion Gate of Srimandir from Ratha Khala this morning. Police officials pulled the chariots and parked in front of the temple.

The chariots have been kept ready and will be pulled by lakhs of devotees tomorrow afternoon.

The State Government has made elaborate arrangements for smooth and timely conduct of the annual Rath Jatra of Lord Jagannath and his siblings. This year, it is a rare Rath Jatra, as the festival will be celebrated for two days on July 7 and 8. Such a rare festival will be organized after a gap of 53 years.

This year the Rath Jatra, Nabajouban Darshan and Netra Utsav are falling on the same day (July 7).

All roads lead to the pilgrim town. Thousands of devotees have started thronging pilgrim town Puri to witness the Rath Jatra beginning on Sunday.

President Droupadi Murmu, Chief Minister Mohan Charan Majhi, two Deputy Chief Ministers, K V Singh Deo & Pravati Parida along with several Union Ministers, State Ministers, other elected MLAs, MPs and senior Government Officers are likely to witness the Rath Jatra.

Lord Jagannath and his two siblings – elder brother Balabhadra and younger sister Subhadra – are ready to give darshan to the public on Rathas and visit Gundicha Temple.

Lord Balabhadra would lead the chariot procession riding Taladhwaja. It will be followed by Devi Subhadra in Darpadalana. Lord Jagannath would go riding Nandighosa in the end.

Tight security arrangements have been made in and around Puri town for the festival. Artificial intelligence (AI) based CCTV cameras have been installed at Badadanda, the venue of the festival, and other strategic locations in this pilgrim town.

ADGP Dayal Gangwar informed that the police will use advanced technology to manage the huge crowd of devotees expected to participate in the grand annual Rath Jatra of Lord Jagannath and his siblings, scheduled to commence on July 7.

He said that the footage from these cameras will be monitored live from two integrated control rooms. For the first time, all incoming vehicles to Puri, including two-wheelers, will be counted. This will help authorities take preventive steps to avoid congestion and road blockages, he said.

Additionally, a Public Announcement Drone (PAD) will fly over the Puri-Bhubaneswar National Highway to identify black spots and inform the public and devotees. The authorities have identified about 30 traffic black spots along the Puri-Bhubaneswar, Puri-Brahmagiri, and Puri-Konark highways.

This drone, weighing about fifteen kilograms and equipped with a public announcement system, can fly 30 to 100 meters above the ground and provide real-time information to the public.

Moreover, the police have launched a WhatsApp Chat Bot App to help devotees plan their routes. A QR code has been released for the public, which can be downloaded onto any Android mobile phone.

With the help of this app, users can get real-time information regarding traffic restrictions, nearby parking places, hotels, drinking water fountains, toilets, lifeguard presence along the beach, and other facilities.

The traffic restrictions will be enforced from midnight today. The police expect 100 to 150 tourist buses, 400-500 regular buses, and 190 special buses from various blocks of the State. About two dozen additional parking areas have been created near different entry points to the town, Gangwar said.

Approximately 50 platoons of the police force, with 450 officers, have been deployed to ensure the smooth conduct of vehicular and pilgrim traffic. The traffic restrictions will remain in force until the Suna Besha of the deities, he added.

Approximately 180 platoons of the police force will be deployed in light of the President’s visit to participate in the Rath Yatra.

The entire Grand Avenue area has been divided into six zones for security purposes, with senior police officers in charge of each zone.

An adequate number of police personnel will be posted inside the temple complex. There will be no public darshan during the Pahandi of deities inside the temple to maintain the ritual schedule.

Besides, at least three companies of the Rapid Action Force (RAF), two companies of the CRPF, eight SOG teams, bomb detection and disposal units, and over 2,000 home guards will be deployed, said ADGP (Law and Order) Sanjay Kumar.