Railways announces 82 special trains for Puri chariot festival
The Indian Railways today announced that it would run 82 special trains to handle the rush for the famous Rath Yatra (chariot festival) of Lord Jagannath, beginning in Odisha's beach town of Puri on July 10.
The special trains will run during the festival to connect Puri, 56 km from Bhubaneswar, with several places in the state.
Special trains will also connect Puri with West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, an official of the Bhubaneswar headquartered East Coast Railway said.
The special trains would run in addition to 25 pairs of regular trains, he said. To handle the large number of pilgrims, 35 additional ticket counters will be opened at the Puri railway station.
A large number of them would be functioning round-the-clock, he said.
Every year, idols of the three deities - Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra - are taken out of the 12th century temple on chariots to another shrine called Gundicha, 3 km away, both in Puri town.
Nine days later, the chariots make their return journey known as Bahuda Jatra, which will be organised July 19 this year. A glimpse of the deities is considered auspicious and around a million devotees throng to attend these annual processions.
The chariots are pulled with ropes by devotees amid chants of hymns.