After nine days of stay in their aunt’s home, three deities Lord Balabhadra, Lord Jagannath and Devi Subhadra returned to their abode in Bhubaneswar. And to bring them back home, thousands of devotees turned out on the streets pulling the deities’ chariots from Mausi Maa temples.
While the devotees pulled three chariots of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) from the Gundicha temple near Unit VIII DAV Public School, the Bahuda Yatra was also celebrated on Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) and Utkal University campuses with ceremonial splendour.
The ISKCON Bahuda Yatra started with rituals like ‘Mangala Arati’ at 7.30 am followed by ‘Chhera Pahanra’ at 2 pm by Guru Bhakti Gourav Narayan Swami Maharaj. The tugging of chariots started at around 3 pm in the presence of Commissioner of Police Sunil Ray and Mayor Ananta Jena.
While nearly one lakh devotees followed the chariots with chanting of hymns and ‘shlokas’, the ISKCON devotees were seen leading them in groups forming ‘Sankirtan’ teams.
Women devotees pulled the ‘Darpadalana’, the chariot of Devi Subhadra and all the chariots reached the main temple in Nayapalli by 6 pm. Similarly, the festival was celebrated peacefully at KISS amidst traditional rituals like ‘Mangala Arati’, ‘Rosha Homa’, ‘Abakasha’, ‘Surya Puja’ since early morning as per the tradition of Shri Jagannath Temple at Puri. Cultural programmes were organised on the occasion on the campus.
Other parts of the City also witnessed large gathering. Devotees pulled single chariots of the deities at Patiagarh, Siripur, Niladri Vihar, Sailashree Vihar and VSS Nagar.
Children too participated in the festival with their miniature raths. These mini chariots were pulled in several lanes of Bhubaneswar with the most interesting one being in Old Town area. Here, all rituals related to Rath Yatra and Bahuda Yatra performed by Shree Jagannath Rath Yatra Committee were conducted by children.
Around 17 platoons of police force were deployed throughout the city for smooth conduct of the festival. DCP Nitinjeet Singh said no untoward incident was reported throughout the day.