The 129th annual Jagannath Rathyatra on Tuesday began with traditional fervour as the chariots of Lord Jagannath, Balbhadra and their sister Subhadhara rolled out from the Jagannath temple in Jamalpur locality here amid tight security.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi along with state Law Minister Ashok Bhatt and Home Minister Amit Shah offered prayers to the Lord at the beautifully decorated chariots with devotees chanting 'Jai Jagannath' to the beats of drums and cymbals.
The Chief Minister then swept the floor in front of Lord Jagannath's chariot with a golden broom and later pulled the 'rath' (chariot) along with the youths of the Khalasi community, who as per tradition pull the chariots every year.
As the three chariots rolled out on the streets, thousands of devotees sang hymns and walked alongside.
Earlier, the devotees, including women and children, thronged the temple premises to offer their prayers amid tight security with armed police personnel, posted on rooftops surrounding the temple, keeping a vigil.
Approximately 20,000 security personnel of the Gujarat police, State Reserve Police, Rapid Action Force, Central Reserve Police Force, and Border wing jawans have been deployed along the 15-km procession route through the city, including some communally sensitive areas like Jamalpur, Dariapur and Kalupur.