The 141st edition of rathyatra or chariot festival of Ahmedabad will be celebrated on a grand scale this year with seers of the Akhara Parishad scheduled to take part in the religious and cultural extravaganza for the first time.
Since Ahmedabad city was declared as the 'World Heritage City' by the UNESCO last year, several tableaux devoted to that theme will be a major attraction of the procession that will be taken out from the Lord Jagannath temple in Jamalpur area of the city on July 14.
The Ahmedabad Rath Yatra is known to be the third largest in the world.
"This year's procession would comprise 18 decorated elephants, 101 trucks carrying tableaux, 30 religious congregations, 18 singing troupes, and three aesthetically decked chariots of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balram and sister Subhadra," Lord Jagannath Temple Trust trustee Mahendra Jha told reporters here today.
"Besides, over 2,500 seers from places like Haridwar, Ayodhya, Nashik, Ujjain, Puri and Saurashtra have been invited for the rathyatra. This is the first time that saints associated with the ABAP will attend the event," said Jha.
The ABAP is the apex organisation of Hindu saints and ascetics in India.
Jha said the trust has also invited Haridwar-based Jagadguru Swami Hansdevacharya Maharaj and Mahant Hari Giri of Junagadh for the event.
Jha said they had also invited Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, however, he expressed his inability to attend due to an official engagement on July 14.
Rath Yatra is celebrated on 'Ashadhi Beej' that is the second day of Hindu month of 'Ashadh', which falls on July 14 this year.
Offerings from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had once stayed in this temple, are expected to reach the temple a day before the rathyatra festival, he said.
Explaining the rituals, Jha said chariots will commence their journey from the 400-year-old temple after Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and his deputy Nitin Patel perform 'Pahind Vidhi'- a symbolic ritual of cleaning way for the chariots outside the temple.
The rathyatra procession typically stretches up to 1.5 km and covers a distance of around 18 km before returning to the Jagannath temple.
It generally takes 12 hours to complete the journey whose route passes through the walled city, including some communally sensitive areas.
Besides the Ahmedabad rathyatra procession, 163 other small and medium-scale processions will be organised at various places in the state on July 14.
The state government today said various steps are being taken to prevent any untoward incident during the processions.
Gujarat Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja had yesterday said that adequate police force will be deployed in all the 33 districts of the state for the rathyatras.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)