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Communal harmony marks Jagannath Rath Yatra

Press Trust Of India
Jul 03, 2011 at 11:46pm IST

Ahmedabad: Marked by active participation from members of both the communities, the 134th edition of Lord Jagannath's Rath Yatra on Sunday passed off peacefully.

The colourful procession, comprising 19 decorated elephants, 98 trucks mounted with tableau depicting Indian culture and three aesthetically decked chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balram and their sister Subhadra, moved past the communally-sensitive areas like Kalupur, Dariyapur and Shahpur which had in the past witnessed communal violence.

The convoy was greeted by local leaders of the minority community in the areas it passed through amidst tight security arrangements made by police and other agencies.

Communal harmony marks Jagannath Rath Yatra

The people, who lined up on both sides of roads, jostled up to have a glimpse of the procession.

The Rath Yatra, accompanied by chorus of devotional songs and drum beats, moved silently at the time of evening prayers in the minority-dominated areas.

The people, who lined up on both sides of roads, jostled up to have a glimpse of the procession.

Local MLA Gyasuddin Sheikh said that it were the efforts of the common people that have made the Rath Yatra peaceful since the past decade.

The mohalla committees and the peace committees have played a major role in bringing the two communities together, he said.

Earlier on Sunday, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi performed symbolic 'road cleaning' outside the 400-year-old Lord Jagannath temple from where the chariots of the Lord Jagannath, Lord Balram and their sister Subhadra commenced their journey throughout the city.

During its journey through the city, the procession and the devotees halted briefly at Saraspur, which is considered to be the maternal home of Lord Jagannath.

Elaborate arrangements were made to serve 'Maha Bhoj' (prasad) to more than 1.5 lakh people in Saraspur where the convoy rested for around two hours before starting its return journey to the four-century old temple of the lord.

In Saraspur, devotees collected essential food items required for the preparation of prasad from around a month ago, as per the custom.

Over 5,000 volunteers rendered their services to make the ceremony a grand success.

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