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Puri: Annual chariot festival begins amid clattering cymbals, conches

Nearly a million devout devotees thronged the streets of Puri and welcomed the god, Lord Jagannath, with the sound of conches, cymbals and holy bells to mark the beginning of the holy chariot procession under high security on Wednesday. A sea of devotees from across India gathered on the streets in front of the 12th century holy temple of Lord Jagannath to welcome the Hindu god with great fanfare, religious fervour and spirit. The three wooden chariots were decorated with garlands and multicolored clothes for Jagannath, his elder brother Lord Balabhadra and sister Devi Subhadra. The security arrangements were particularly tight this time as the festival came on the heels of recent blasts at Bodhgaya temple.