• Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Tragedy and Resilience Mark This Year’s Rath Yatra in Puri

The Rath Yatra or Chariot Festival, is one of the most revered and grandest religious events in India. It is celebrated with immense devotion in Puri Odisha. This ancient festival dates back over millennium.

It is dedicated to Lord Jagannath. He is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and his siblings, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra. During the festival deities are taken out of their temple in grand procession. The journey to the Shree Gundicha Temple is about 3 kilometers away. Enormous, elaborately decorated chariots are pulled by thousands of devotees.

This journey symbolizes the annual visit of the deities to their birthplace. The Rath Yatra is not just a spectacle of devotion. It is also a vibrant cultural event. It attracts millions of pilgrims and tourists from around the world. Its roots are deeply embedded in the rich tapestry of Indian mythology and tradition. This makes it a significant highlight in the Hindu religious calendar.

During the annual Rath Yatra in Puri the sacred atmosphere was marred by tragedy and chaos. A devotee from Bolangir district succumbed to suffocation in stampede-like situation. This occurred despite efforts to revive him en route to the hospital. Sushant Kumar Patnaik of St John ambulance service noted that while the man’s pulse was detected initially, he was declared dead upon arrival at the hospital. The victim collapsed on Grand Road. He was helping to pull the chariot of Lord Balabhadra. Expressing sorrow Chief Minister Mohan Charan Majhi announced an ex gratia of ₹4 lakh for the bereaved family. He also directed officials to provide the best medical care to injured devotees.

In separate incident in Jharsuguda district, Shyam Sundar Kishan a 45-year-old devotee, tragically died. He fell under the wheels of the chariot during the festivities at Kukujangha village. Despite being rushed to the hospital Kishan succumbed to his injuries.

The festival saw more than 130 people including, some police personnel injured in Puri. Over 600 individuals sought medical attention at hospitals and camps. Of these, 130 required hospital admission. Health Services Director Bijay Mohapatra assured that such numbers were typical for the event. None of the injured were in critical condition.

Revenue Minister Suresh Pujari visited the hospital. He confirmed that injuries ranged from stampede-related trauma to dehydration and dysentery. The hot humid weather exacerbated these conditions. He praised the medical staff and volunteers for their dedicated service. He expressed hope that the injured would be discharged by Monday evening.

The chariot procession had halted for the night. It resumed on Monday morning. Amid chants and sounds of gongs and cymbals, the deities’ chariots made their way toward Shree Gundicha Temple. This year’s Rath Yatra was unique. It extended over two days due to celestial alignments. Such an occurrence had not been seen in 53 years. Rituals like ‘Nabajouban Darshan’ and ‘Netra Utsav’ usually held before the Yatra, were conducted in single day.

To ensure safety of the massive crowds stringent security measures were implemented. A significant force of 180 platoons was deployed. AI-based CCTV cameras monitored strategic locations. 46 fire tenders were positioned across the town. They were also placed along the beach to manage any emergencies.

Despite the challenges and tragedies, the festival continued. This reflected the deep devotion and resilience of the participants. The Rath Yatra remains a testament to faith. It also continues to uphold tradition even in the face of adversity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WP Twitter Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com