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Rath Yatra: Three Chariots Reach Gundicha Temple in Puri

Puri: The majestic chariots of Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra, and Lord Jagannath—Taladhwaja, Darpadalana, and Nandighosha—arrived at the Saradhabali in front of the Gundicha Temple, completing the first leg of the nine-day-long Rath Yatra. This year’s event was marked by the rare convergence of Netra Utsav, Nabajoubana Darshan, and Gundicha Yatra occurring on the same day, a celestial alignment last witnessed in 1971.

The first leg of the Rath Yatra, known as the Gundicha Yatra, retraces the journey from Sri Mandi to birthplace. This year’s event spanned two days, a ritual occurrence happening after a 53-year hiatus.

Over 10 lakh devotees flocked to Puri on the first day of the Gundicha Yatra, drawn by the unique celestial conjunction. Despite the thinner crowd today compared to Sunday’s massive turnout, the devotion and enthusiasm remained high.

The atmosphere was electric with cries of “Hari Bol,” “Jai Jagannath,” as the chariot pulling resumed around 10:00 AM today. The procession began with Lord Balabhadra’s Taladhwaja, followed by Devi Subhadra’s Darpadalana, and finally Lord Jagannath’s Nandighosha.

The pulling of the chariots on Sunday was halted after sunset, with Taladhwaja stopping at Marichkote Chhak, Darpadalana near Srikrishna Cinema Hall, and Nandighosha a few meters away from the Singhadwara.

This year police implemented extensive arrangements to ensure the safety and smooth darshan of the sibling deities atop the Raths. For the first time, AI-enabled cameras and drones were deployed to monitor crowd pressure points, enabling police to decongest crowded areas effectively.

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