Undeterred by rains, Lakhs of devotees participate in Ratha Jatra at Puri with religious fervour, gaiety

Puri: Undeterred by rains, lakhs of Jagannath devotees take part in the journey of the holy Trinity — Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra to Gundicha temple in Puri with religious fervour and gaiety.

Chariots of Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra reach Gundicha Temple. Lord Jagannath’s chariot Nandighosa’s journey halted within a short distance of Gundicha temple, chariot pulling to resume tomorrow .

All the morning rituals of deities one after other starting from 6 am. First was the Mangal Arati (morning lighting). Then Mailam (tooth-brushing and bathing), Surya Puja (worship of Sun God), Dwarapala Puja (worship of securities at gate), Balabha Bhog (breakfast) and Dhupa (lunch) etc, were practiced as per schedule. In lunch, the deities were offered Khechudi prepared by the chief cook. At 9 am, Lord Sudarshan was first to start His Pahandi Beji towards the Lion Gate followed by elder Balabhadra, sister Subhadra and younger Jagannath who proceeded amidst beating of drums and ringing of cymbals. More than a hundred of servitors from all sects took part in the Pahandi Bije, who carried forward the deities in a queue. They made deities climb atop chariots and affixed them on their seats.

Before the chariots were pulled, Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Dev of Puri observed his ‘Chherapahanra’ ritual, (holy sweeping) starting from Taladhwaj, then Nandighosh and Debidalan at last. Deb offered special prayer to the deities. To conduct his annual ritual, the Gajapati came from his palace with royal attire sitting on a decorated palanquin.

Around dozens of people carried the Gajapati onto the chariots keeping the palanquin on their solders. Before the king’s visit, Jagatguru Sankarachrya Nischilananda Sarawati had reached the Lion Gate and offered prayers on the chariots surrounded by his traditional officials. On advice of the Rajaguru, the Gajapati observed his rites on the chariots.

Governor Ganeshi Lal, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan participated in chariot pulling. Among other dignitaries, the Chief Justice of Odisha Vneet Sarin, Agriculture Minister Pradip Maharathy, Law Minister Pratap Jena, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Arukh etc were present. DGP RP Sharma who was present at the Lions’ Gate led the police forces.

After that Charamalas were removed, chariot pulling began on the Badadanda amid tight security. 140 platoons of police force were also deployed. As many as 120 CCTV cameras were also installed across the city.


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