The Rath Yatra festival of Lord Jagannath got off to a colourful start on Wednesday with the presiding deities of the 12th century temple here taken out in a grand procession, even as thousands of devotees gathered to have a glimpse of the grand spectacle amid unprecedented security.
In a rhythmic movement, the deities of Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath were taken out in a grand procession called 'pahandi'. First Balabhadra, then Subhadra and finally Jagannath were taken out of the temple, down the 22 steps known as 'baisi pahacha' and through the Lion's gate.
The deities of Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath adorned the gigantic chariots Taladhwaja, Darpadalan and Nandighosha respectively, which had been stationed at the 'Simhadwara' (Lion's gate) before being pulled by devotees.
The annual celebrations began on Wednesday morning with a set of rituals including 'mangala arati', 'mailam' and 'vesha' followed by 'surya puja' (worship of Sun God) and offering of 'bhogas'.
Outside the temple main gate, consecration ceremony of the three chariots was performed.
The temple was thrown open to public on Tuesday for 'naba jaubana darshan' of the deities.