Puri, July 1 (UNI) Amidst tight security cover, lakhs of devotees from across the country have thronged this pilgrim city to witness the nine-day sojourn of the presiding deities of the Sri Jagannath temple, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balavadra and Devi Subhadra.
Chants of “Jai Jagannath”, “harobol” and clanging of cymbals rented the air around the 12th centrury shrine and the three kms long Grand road, popularly known as ” Bada danda” as the presiding deities one after another were taken out from the “Ratna Sinhasan of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple to their respective chariot by the daitapaties, the temple servitors.
Early in the morning, a set of rituals were performed by the servitors for Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Lord Balavadra and sister Devi Subhadra which included offering of ”gopal bhog” (breakfast) after necessary rituals before the deities were taken out from the ”Ratnavedi” in a ceremonial ‘pahandi bije’ to their respective well-decorated chariots parked outside the temple.
Hundreds of temple servitors took the deities on their shoulders from the temple amidst the blowing of conch shells through Ananda Bazar and the ”Baishi Pahacha”(the twenty-two steps of the temple) to the Lions Gate under tight security.
The chariots – the red and yellow ”Nandighosha” of Lord Jagannath with 16 wheels, red and green ”Taladhwaja” of Balabhadra with 14 wheels and red and black ”Devadalana” of Devi Subhadra – with a dozen wheels were lined up outside the temple near the Lions Gate.
As per rituals, Lord Balavadra was first taken out of the ‘ratna vedi’ and installed in the chariot called Taladhwaja’ through the ceremonial ‘pahandi bije’, followed by Devi Subhadra to the ‘Darpadalan Chariot’ and lastly Lord Jagannath, fondly called as ‘kalia’ by lakhs of devotees, was installed in the ‘Nandighosh’ chariot.
Lakhs of devotees who were were deprived of witnessing the car festival for the last two years due to covid pandemic broke into frenzied shouts of ”Haribol” and ”Jai Jagannath” as soon as they witnessed the deities coming out of the temple to board the chariots to begin their nine-day sojourn to the Gundicha temple.
The appearance of the deities in public is believed to expel the darkness and bring light. There was virtually a mad rush of the devotees at the Lions Gate to have a glimpse of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balavadra and Devi Subhadra when taken on a “pahandi bije” to the chariots.
Temple sources said the rituals of the deities were performed three hours before the scheduled timing was fixed by the temple administration.
After the three presiding deities along with Sudarshan were installed in the chariots, Puri Sankaracharya Swami Nishalananda Saraswati along with his disciples visited the deities atop the chariots and offered prayers.
The rooftops of all buildings located on either side of the Grand road from the Lions Gate to the Gundicha temple were packed with devotees since early this morning. All lanes and by-lanes leading to the grand road were also crowded with the devotees as they tried to enter the venue of the rath yatra for ‘darshan’ of the deities on the chariot.