Priests & cops on same page for glitch-free rath yatra - Lingaraj temple administration makes arrangements for timely conduct of Rukuna festival rituals

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By SANDIP BAL AND LELIN KUMAR MALLICK
  • Published 30.03.12
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Bhubaneswar, March 29: Adequate security arrangements have been made for the annual Rukuna rath yatra of Lord Lingaraj to be held on March 31 on the occasion of Ashokastami. All efforts are being made to ensure that the rituals are held according to schedule.

More than 12 platoons of police will be deployed at various places around the temple and along the road through which the rath will pass on the auspicious day. A preparatory meeting of the police, temple priests and local political leaders was held at the Lingaraj police station. Everyone stressed the timely conduct of rituals on that day.

“We have made proper security arrangements for the rath yatra. We want the devotees to watch the proceedings safely without any hitch. Besides, our concern was to ensure that all the rituals were carried out on time so that the chariot pulling is done on time. The priests have assured us they co-ordinate among themselves and with us,” said B.K. Sharma commissioner of police.

The police would close the road through which the chariot will pass from 12.30pm onwards on that day for the chariot pulling. The police will block the approach roads to the temple. Commuters will be directed to diversions.

The city police and the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation have decided to remove all chicken and fish-selling shops from along the rath path during the rath yatra after nijog members (priests) objected to the presence of such shops there.

The Lingraj temple administration has also made all preparations for the Rukuna rath yatra.

The alati will start at 4am and pahandi would be held between 11.20am and 12.20pm. The administration has also decided that the pulling of chariot will start from 3pm and all the deities will reach Mausi Maa temple by 6.30pm.

With an eye on the scorching heat, the temple administration has approached the public health engineering organisation to provide sufficient drinking water tankers during the festival. “All preparations have been made for the smooth conduct of the festival. On our part we will ensure that all the rituals are carried out within the scheduled time,” said executive officer of the temple Abani Patnaik.

The temple authorities have approached the transport officials to arrange for more town buses on the occasion. Sources at the regional transport office, Bhubaneswar region, said that 80 town buses, including city buses, would ply to the temple.

More than one lakh devotes are expected to throng to the temple to pull the chariot on the occasion of Ashokasthami.

All the priests (nijogs) have promised that they will coordinate closely among themselves so that there is no delay in the chariot pulling. Last year, the chariot could only be pulled at 5pm, because of which it could not reach its destination, Rameswar temple, on that day.

Lack of coordination between the nijogs had led to delay in the lifting of the auspicious light to the temple top. This was done late at night, causing embarrassment for the organisers.