ANI Photo | Union Ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw, Dharmendra Pradhan meet Puri Shankaracharya as Jagannath Rath Yatra begins

Union Ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday met Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati and sought his blessings on the occasion of the famed Jagannath Rath Yatra that began in Odisha’s Puri.
The 10-day Jagannath Yatra festival marks the annual visit of Lord Jagannath, his younger sister Devi Subhadra, and his elder brother Lord Balabhadra to the Gundicha temple.
“On the occasion of the holy Rath Yatra, along with my colleague Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, visited the Puri Gobardhan Peeth. We took blessings from Jagadguru Shankaracharya,” Pradhan, the Union Education minister said.
Meanwhile, Vaishnaw who is on a three-day visit to Odisha from June 19 inspected Puri Railway Station and reviewed the arrangements made for pilgrims in view of the world-famed Rath Yatra.
“All arrangements have been made at the Puri station for the pilgrims coming here for the Rath Yatra. 857 special trains have been arranged for approximately 20 lakh pilgrims (expected to come for the yatra),” said Vaishnaw.
Rath Yatra is associated with Lord Jagannath at Shri Kshetra Puri Dham in Odisha.
At Puri, three majestic chariots carrying the idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Devi Subhadra are pulled by lakhs of devotees from in front of the Singha Dwar of Jagannath Temple towards the Shree Gundicha Temple. The Yatra covers nearly a 3-kilometer distance are expected to reach the Shree Gundicha Temple before sunset today.
After a nine-day sojourn at the Shree Gundicha temple, the deities will return to the Shree Mandir on the same chariots called ‘Bahuda Yatra’, or return car festival, on June 28.
Union Railway minister is also scheduled to visit the site of the tragic train mishap in Balasore in the state earlier this month. He will hold multiple meetings with the concerned authorities who looked after the victims of the tragedy in which close to 300 people lost their lives and over 1000 were injured.
The triple train accident on June 2 involved the Chennai-bound Coromandel Express, the Howrah-bound Shalimar Express, and a goods train.

This report is filed by ANI news service.

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