Bhubaneswar: On the occasion of Ashokastami, Rukuna Rath Yatra of Lord Lingaraj begins here today with pomp and gaiety.
Thousands of devotees have turned up in Old Town to have a glimpse of deities on the chariot and pull it down the Ratha road.
Beginning with ‘Mangal Alati’ and ‘Sahan Mela’ darshan, the bronze idols of ‘Chandrasekhar’ (representative idol of Lord Lingaraj), Devi Rukuna and Ananta Basudev will be brought onto the chariot amidst chanting of hymns, sounds of gongs and conches. The eagerly waiting devotees will begin pulling the chariot after that.
Adequate arrangements have been made to provide drinking water and resting shades to the devotees, keeping the blazing sun in the mind.
The chariot will be pulled up to Rameswar temple, the Mausi Maa temple of Lord Lingaraj. The deities stay at the temporary abode for four days. On the third day, Goddess Parvati visits the trio. Like Goddess Laxmi who becomes upset over Lord Jagannath for not being taken in the journey, Goddess Parvati too gets upset and breaks a portion of the chariot and returns.
On the fifth day, the Bahuda Yatra takes place. While some rituals are similar to those followed during the car festival at Puri, a special ritual observed here makes the festival different. Here the chariot is not turned around, but it is pulled reverse instead.
Another uniqueness associated with the Rukuna Rath Yatra is the auction of Marichi Kunda water, held at the Mukteswar temple. It is believed that the water cures infertility if taken on the penultimate night of the Rath Yatra.
Keeping huge gathering in mind, the Commisionerate of Police has issued an advisory.
According to the notification, all vehicles coming from the side of Hata Sahi, Vivekananda Marg, Ravi talkies square, Puri and Garage square will park at New Market complex. Similarly, the vehicles coming from Kachara pindi are asked to go through Koti Tirtha lane to park at New Market complex. The vehicles coming from Dakabangala, Forest park and Punama gate are asked to park at Lingaraj market.
The administration said that elaborate arrangements have been made to ensure a peaceful celebration.