On 1st July 2022, the 145th world-famous Jagannath Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad began from the hallowed Jagannath Temple in Ahmedabad. This Rath Yatra is being held on the day of Ashadh Shudh Dwitiya which is the second day of the Ashadh month in the Hindu calendar for the last 145 years. The Jagannath Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad and Narendra Modi share a very special relationship. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also cited his association with the Jagannath Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ program last Sunday.
PM Modi in his address said, “On Ashadh Shudh Dwitiya, the Jagannath Rath Yatra begins in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. When I was in Gujarat, I too was privileged to offer my services in this Yatra.”
The Jagannath Mandir Trust invites PM Modi; PM Modi sends the Prasad in return
Like every year, this year too the Jagannath Temple Trust invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Rath Yatra. Ever since Narendra Modi became the Chief Minister of Gujarat, he too, as a tradition, started sending Prasad to the temple on the eve of the Rath Yatra. He has maintained the tradition even after being elected to the Centre. As the 145th Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath begins on 1st July 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent the prasad to the Jamalpur Jagannath Temple on 30th June 2022.
Like every year, the Prasad sent by Narendra Modi contained moong, cucumber, pomegranate, Jamun, mangoes and dry fruits. The Prasad was offered to the deity on 1st July 2022.
The Jagannath Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad and Narendra Modi
Notably, the Jagannath Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad is flagged off traditionally by the Chief Minister of Gujarat himself by performing the pahind ceremony at the temple premises early in the morning on the day of Ashadh Shudh Dwitiya. In the ceremony, the chief minister cleans the path of the Rath Yatra, leaving the temple with a golden broom.
The record for performing the most number of pahind rituals as the Chief Minister of Gujarat is still held by Narendra Modi, who has performed the pahind rituals 12 times during the Jagannath Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad.
As we noted above, the history of Jagannath Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad is very old. For the last two decades, the Rath Yatra has been going on in a very peaceful and grand manner. But that was not always the case. In Gujarat, when Congress was in power, the Rath Yatra witnessed bloodshed, and stones pelted at it, forcing the administration to impose curfews. Devotees had to attend the rath yatra under a perpetual threat of being attacked.
But this picture changed after Narendra Modi became the Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001. From 2001 to date, not a single such incident took place during the Jagannath Rath Yatra of Ahmedabad. During his tenure as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi paid special attention to the safety of the Rath Yatra and also ensured that the Rath Yatra event is respected on the global stage.
On 1st July 2022, that is Ashadh Shudh Dwitiya, the rath yatra of Lord Jagannath has once again started in Ahmedabad for which tight security arrangements are placed in the city. At 7 a.m., the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Bhupender Patel, came to the Jagannath Temple at Jamalpur in Ahmedabad and started the Rath Yatra by performing the pahind rituals.