PURI: Thousands of pilgrims flocked to the Pilgrim City of Puri on Akshaya Tritiya to witness the beginning of the 21-day water sports festival - Chandan Yatra - of Lord Jagannath. However, delay in the observance of rituals in the Jagannath Temple delayed the Chandan Yatra by several hours.
As per the rituals, the representative idol of Lord Jagannath as well as five Shivalingas, known as the Pancha Pandavas, are taken in a procession from the Singhadwara of the temple to the Narendra Tirtha tank. After various rituals, the deities are placed on the richly decorated boats for a ride in the tank.
Accordingly, Madanmohan, the representative idol of Lord Jagannath, his consort Laxmi and Panch Pandavas on Tuesday began their journey from the temple in six palanquins along the Grand Road to Narendra tank.
The deities were ceremonially escorted by a set of temple servitors on decorated ‘Bimanas’, while the Lord rides a special one called ‘Manibimana’. However, ‘Dina Chapa’ could not be observed as the ceremonial procession reached the Narendra tank late in the evening.
The deities on their arrival at the Narendra tank were given a sandalwood paste and aromatic water bath for cooling effect. Then the deities were taken in a procession to their respective giant swan-shaped boats.
The deities move about the tank enjoying the notes and dances of Odissi presented by dancers on the decks till late in the evening. The deities return to the temple in the manner and style as they went out.
The scene is repeated daily and on completion of 21 days, the concluding ceremony, known as ‘Bhaunri’, is observed with display of fireworks and music extravaganza.
CONSTRUCTION OF CHARIOTS BEGINS: The construction of the three chariots of the Trinity also began on Tuesday. As per the tradition, the temple priests handed over the Ajnya Mallya (order of Lord Jagannath) to the three heads of the carpenters clan to initiate the construction of three huge chariots for the Rath Yatra. The ‘purohit’ performed ‘homa’ to mark the beginning of work.
Earlier on Ram Navami, the wooden logs selected for use in the construction were consecrated by the temple priest.