Bhubaneswar: Braving the scorching sun, thousands of devotees turned up at the 11th century Lingaraj Temple at the capital city of Bhubaneswar today, to pull the Rukuna Rath on the occasion of Ashokasthami.
There was enthusiasm among the devotees for this auspicious festival which precedes the famous car festival of lord Jagannath held in June or July every year at Puri.
Before the Rath Yatra began the priests of Lingaraj Temple brought the bronze images of all the three deities Chandrasekhar (the incarnation of Lord Lingaraj), Rukmini and Basudeva and installed them on the chariot amidst loud beats of gongs, blowing of conchs and chanting of hymns.
It is noteworthy to mention that this is an annual festival in which the deities take the chariot and travel a distance of about 2 kms to reach the Mausima Temple where they will stay for 5 days.
Elaborate security arrangements were made for the smooth functioning of the festival.