New Delhi, July 14: The nine-day annual festival of  Jagannath Rath Yatra will begin from Saturday amid multi-layered security cover. Around 8,000 police personnel along with ODRAF, Rapid Action Force,  anti bomb squad have been deployed in Puri for the security of the devotees and tourists. Notably, 10 lakh devotees from across the country and abroad are expected to witness the chariot festival. Also Read - Puri Rath Yatra 23 June, 2020: Do You Know The Story Behind The Chariot Festival For Lord Jagannath in Puri

On the occasion of the annual Rath Yatra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter and extended his greetings. Sharing a video of the three presiding deities (Lord Jagannath, his brother Lord Balabhadra, and their sister Subhadra), PM Modi said,”With the blessings of Lord Jagannath, may our country scale new heights of growth. May every Indian be happy and prosperous.”

Besides that, PM had also sent  traditional offerings to the Jagannath temple. If reports are to be believed, Modi has been sending offerings for many years. Speaking about the same head priest of the temple, Dilipdasjee Maharaj, said,””As always, the PM has kept his commitment and sent sprouted moong, jamun, pomegranate and mangoes, which will be offered to Lord Jagannath.”

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah is also expected to visit Gujarat. He might attend the ‘mangal aarti’ at the Jagannath Temple before addressing a Youth Parliament at a private university in Gandhinagar.

The rituals of the annual festival started at 6 am today and at around 9.30 am the idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra will be shifted to their chariots. The rath (chariots) will start the journey from the 400-year-old Jagannath temple in Jamalpur and pass through Khamasa, Raipur, Kalupur, Prem Darwaza, Dariapur, Delhi Chakla, and Shahpur.