The 139th Jagganath Rath Yatra began in Ahmedabad on Wednesday amid tight security.
More than 18,000 security personnel of local police and para-military forces have been deployed at strategic locations to ensure the safety of the procession that will pass through some communally sensitive areas.
The rath yatra, having chariots of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balbhadra and sister Subhadra, rolled out at around 7.30 AM on Wednesday from the 400-year old Jagannath temple in Jamalpur of the walled city.
The total length of rath yatra procession stretches up to 1.5 km and covers around 15 km route before returning to the temple after an almost 11-hour journey in the walled city
during which it passes through several Muslim dominated areas, such as Jamalpur, Kalupur, Delhi Chakla, Shahpur, Prem Darwaja and Dariyapur.
The rath yatra will take a break for afternoon meal in Saraspur area of the city, which is considered as the Lord’s maternal home, where around five lakh devotees will take
food before starting their return journey at around 1.30 PM.
BJP chief Amit Shah also participated in the ‘Mangla Aarti’ that was held at around 4 AM at the temple today.
Apart from the three holy chariots, the procession usually has 18 elephants, 101 trucks and 30 ‘akhadas’.
As many as 700 CCTV cameras, including night vision cameras, have been installed at various locations along the 15-km route by the police to keep a close watch on each and every movement, Joint Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch, J K Bhatt said.