Bhubaneswar, June 20 (IANS) Security has been beefed up in Odisha's Puri town ahead of the annual nine-day chariot festival of Lord Jagannath beginning Thursday, police said.
Around 8,000 policemen have been deployed across the town to maintain law and order and prevent any untoward incident, District Superintendent of Police Anup Kumar Sahoo told IANS.
Hundreds of policemen were also deployed at the beach as part of the security measures, he said.
About half a dozen closed-circuit security cameras had also been installed at various places to keep a watch on troublemakers and manage crowds, Sahoo said.
Similarly, bomb detection and disposal squads and fire tender units had also been kept ready to meet emergencies, he said.
Every year, idols of three deities -- Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra -- are taken out of the 12th century Jagannath Temple in chariots to another shrine, Gundicha, three km away in the same town, around 56 km from the state capital.
Nine days later, the chariots make their return journey known as Bahuda Jatra, which will be organised June 29.
A glimpse of the deities is considered auspicious and around a million devotees throng to attend this annual event. The chariots are pulled with ropes by devotees amid chants of hymns.