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Gandhinagar, Tuesday: Chief Minister Narendra Modi today performed ‘pahind', the sacred rites, to mark the beginning of the 138th Bhagwan Jagannath Rath Yatra from the famous Jagannath Temple at Ahmedabad today.

He earlier offered prayers with gold ‘chaamar' (ceremonial hand fan), pulled Bhagwan Jagannath's main chariot from the historic temple up to the starting point of the Rath Yatra route. It was for the ninth consecutive time that Mr. Modi performed the rite as the chief minister.

As Bhagwan Jagannath is considered to be Lord of the Common Man and the Destitute, Mr. Modi considered it as a rare privilege to have participated in the ritual and served the poor, true to the high traditions and rich heritage of the occasion.

He also recalled Bhagwan Krishna's close association with Gujarat, the people of Gujarat having a special love and affection Him.

Mr. Modi wished peace and prosperity for the entire society and particularly the agriculturists on this occasion. He also complimented the people of Kutch on ‘Asadhi Bij (second day of the lunar month of Asadh), as it happens to be their New Year, heralding a good monsoon.

The chariot of Bhagwan Jagannath will traverse the traditional route, passing through the main roads of the historic city of Ahmedabad, before returning back to the Jagannath Temple in the evening.

Prominent among those present on the occasion included Gujarat Assembly Speaker Ashok Bhatt, Revenue Minister Anandiben Patel, Ahmedabad Mayor Kanaji Thakor, MPs, MLAs and citizens, besides the temple priest Mahant Rameshwardasji Maharaj and trustees of the temple.

Commissionerate of Information, Gujarat

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