The city is all set to witness the 139th edition of Lord Jagannath’s rath yatra amidst tight security being pressed into service for the annual event.
As the procession will pass through some communally sensitive areas, more than 18,000 security personnel of local police and para-military forces will be deployed at strategic locations along the route.
Police said they have initiated action like preventive detention or externment against 10,000 anti-social elements to ensure a trouble-free event.
The rath yatra, having chariots of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balbhadra and sister Subhadra, will roll out at around 7.30 am today from the 400-year old Jagannath temple in Jamalpur of the walled city.
The total length of the 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.
According to Jagannath temple trustee Mahendra Jha, BJP chief Amit Shah will participate in the ‘Mangla Aarti’ to be held at around 4 am at the temple today.
Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel is scheduled to perform ‘pahind’ ceremony (symbolic cleaning of road ahead of the yatra) at 7.05 am before the procession starts.
Apart from the three holy chariots, the procession usually has 18 elephants, 101 trucks and 30 ‘akhadas’.
Since the procession is slated to pass from some communally sensitive areas, the police department is leaving no stone unturned to ensure a trouble-free event.
This time, 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, JK Bhatt said.