As per the century old tradition, elephants had the first glimpse of Lord Jagannath and are leading the procession through different parts of the city.
    
After setting off from the over 400 year-old iconic temple, the rathyatra will traverse through about 14 kilometre route in the city.
    
Gujarat Chief Minister Anandi Patel performed the 'Pahind Vidhi' for the rathyatra with a 'golden-broom' (symbolic cleaning of the path for chariot of Lord Jagannath).
    
"On Ashaadhi Dooj (second day of waxing moon cycle in the Hindu month of Ashadh), performed Pahind Vidhi to mark the beginning of Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath," Anandi Patel said on twitter.
    
Patel said she prayed for the well-being of the people of Gujarat on this occasion. "Prayed for the well-being of the people of Gujarat. May Lord Jagannath shower his choicest blessings on all of us," Patel tweeted after performing the Pahind Vidhi.
    
The first woman chief minister of Gujarat also pulled the chariot, after which the procession of Lord Jagannath, brother Lord Baldev and their sister Subhadra began.
    
The procession halts at Saraspur, where the local people offer 'Maha Bhoj' to the entire entourage. Saraspur area of the city has religious significance as it is considered as Lord Jagannath's maternal home.
    
The chariot festival is celebrated on the second day of Shukla Paksha (waxing cycle of moon) in the month of Ashadh, popularly known as Ashadhi Bij.

(Agencies)

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