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Odisha: Lord Lingaraj’s Annual Sojourn Rukuna Rath Yatra Begins After 2-Hr Delay, Stops Halfway

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13 April 2019

Mohammed Ishtiyaque

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Bhubaneswar: On the auspicious occasion of Ram Navami, the streets of Old Town witnessed the annual sojourn of Lord Lingaraj – Rukuna Rath Yatra today afternoon as thousands gathered to pull the ropes of the divine chariot amidst loud chants of Lord Shiva.

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. According to the schedule, ‘niti kanti’ and ‘pahandi’ took place in between 12:30pm and 1pm.

As per tradition, 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 started with ‘Mangala Arati’ and was followed by Sahan Mela darshan.

The bronze idols of three deities- Chandrashekar representing Lord Lingaraj, Rukuna, and Ananta Vasudeva were brought to the chariot amid blowing of conches and religious chants. Keeping in view large turnout of devotees, Commissionerate police has made elaborate arrangements for security and traffic regulation.

The pulling of Rath from 11th-century Lingaraj shrine to Mausima Temple began at around 5:30 pm after a delay of over two hours and despite minor incidents of ambush, the devotees swarmed the stretch between the two temples to partake in the opulence. However to the devotees' dismay, the Rath reached only till Badheibanka square today amid beating of gongs, cymbals and blowing of conch shells.

The rest of the journey will be completed on Sunday following which the deities will stay at their aunt's place for four days and return to the Lingaraj Temple on the fifth day in a grand procession- Bahuda Jatra.

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