A bulldozer made its appearance for the first time ever in a Jagannath Rath Yatra today in Gujarat.
A banner reading Sanatani Bulldozer adorned the bulldozer which led the annual Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra in Rajkot in Saurashtra today. The Rath Yatra started from the Nana Mava area in Rajkot. The head priest of the local Jagannath temple in Rajkot, Sant ManMohanDas said this was an innovative idea and they were inspired by bulldozers used earlier in the BJP-ruled States. “This bulldozer represents the eternal faith of Hinduism. The goalpost to use this bulldozer is to protect our centuries-old Sanatan dharma and hence we named the bulldozer Sanatani”, he said.
The Sanatani Bulldozer-led Rath Yatra was flagged off by former chief minister and BJP leader Vijay Rupani. Lord Jagannath flanked by his brother Balram and sister Subhadra began the yatra at around 9.30 am and covered over 26 kilometers. The Rath Yatra was on its way back to the temple at around 5.30 pm while this copy was being filed.
In Ahmedabad, the 146th Rath Yatra passed off peacefully and was on its way back to the Jagannath temple. Over 500,000 people sought the darshan of the Rath Yatra and participated in the procession that went across the old city. Lacs of people had a community lunch at Saraspur which is believed to be the maternal home of Lord Jagannath. Throughout the Rath Yatra route, Hindus and Muslims set up stalls offering buttermilk, water, bananas and snacks for the yatris who gathered as early as 3 am to participate in the Rath Yatra. Like every year, decorated elephants were the first to leave the temple premises. This is considered auspicious by Amdavadis.
The Gujarat police stationed over 26,000 police personnel to ensure the safety of the Rath Yatra and devotees and to prevent any untoward incidents.
For the first time, the cyber cell of Gujarat police installed sophisticated cameras along with three-dimensional mapping and artificial intelligence for monitoring the Rath Yatra. Special dashboards were set up in the control room for the same. Before the Rath Yatra began, Union Home Minister Amit Shah performed the Mangala Aarti at the temple at around 4 am in the morning.