Rukuna Rath Yatra, the annual chariot festival of Lord Lingaraj on the occasion of Ashokastami.
The rituals began at the 11th century temple in the morning allowing devotees to have a glimpse of the deities in a ritual called Sahana Mela.
After series of ceremonies, bronze sculptures of the three deities- Chandrasekhar, Rukmini and Basudev- will be installed on the chariot amidst loud beats of gongs, blowing of conchs and chanting of hymns.
As per the schedule, the chariots will be dragged for a city tour at 4 pm. The deities riding on the chariot will travel a distance of about 2 kms to reach Mausima temple where they will stay for 5 days.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made for the smooth functioning of the festival. Reportedly, 15 platoons of police force and 115 officers are deployed to streamline the heavy crowd. Apart from this, steps have also been taken to ensure availability of drinking water and shade with the prevailing heat wave condition in mind.