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Odisha's Temple City Rejoices In Lord Lingaraj's Rukuna Rath Jatra


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24 March 2018

Bikash Das


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Bhubaneswar: Religious fervour gripped the denizens of Odisha's capital city here as the famous Rukuna Rath Jatra, the annual chariot pulling of Lord Lingaraj began on Saturday. This festival is observed on the eighth day during the waning moon phase in Chaitra month as per the Hindu calendar, also known as Ashokashtami.

However, during the pulling of the chariot the ropes got snapped up thrice causing an discontentment amongst the devotees.

Thousands of devotees throng the Lingaraj temple and the lanes of Bhubaneswar’s old town to pull the chariot. The temple administration has made elaborate arrangements for the smooth conduct of the rituals. According to the program schedule, after the initial ‘niti kanti’, ‘pahandi’ was scheduled in between 12:30pm and 1pm and the pulling of the chariot by 4pm.

Keeping in view large turnout of devotees, Commissionerate police has made elaborate arrangements for security and traffic regulation.

Rajiv Lochan Parida, Executive Officer of Lingaraj Temple Trust Board said, “It has been assured that the ‘Rukuna Jatra’ will be peacefully celebrated without any obstacle. We are making sure that the devotees would not face any hindrance in the celebration".

As per tradition and the most interesting and unique part of this festival lies in the auction of water from Marichi Kunda, the holy water said to cure infertility in women and bless them with a child. The festival starts with ‘Mangala Arati’ and is followed by Sahan Mela darshan. The bronze idols of three deities- Chandrashekar representing Lord Lingaraj, Rukuna, and Ananta Vasudeva are brought to the chariot amid blowing of conches and religious chants.

The four-wheeled 35-ft chariot is pulled from this 11th-century shrine to Mausima Temple, with tight security arrangements in place. After reaching the temporary abode, the deities stay there for four days.

On day 5, Bahuda i.e., return journey begins. Unlike the Bahuda Ratha Jatra at Puri, the chariot here is drawn to the temple on the reverse instead of turning around.

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Rajiv Lochan Parida, Executive Officer, Lingaraj Temple Trust Board

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Satyabrata Bhoi, DCP, Commissonerate Police