BARIPADA: All roads in Mayurbhanj district led to Baripada as devotees thronged the Grand Road (Bada Danda) of Haribaldev Jew Temple on Monday. Most of the lanes and by-lanes connected to the Grand Road were sealed for pulling of chariots of Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra.
While devotees pulled Lord Balabhadra’s chariot to Mausima temple (Gundicha), women devotees could manage to pull Devi Subhadra’s chariot till Town police station on the Grand Road by Monday evening. The chariot of Lord Jagannath will be pulled on Tuesday.
The Rath Yatra at Baripada, second most important car festival after Puri, has many unique features. After the ‘Pahandi Bije’, Lord Jagannath is placed on His chariot on the day of Rath Yatra. The chariot, however, waits for two days before it is pulled. Unlike Puri, the festival at Baripada continues for 13 days.
Senior priest Arun Kumar Dash said the ‘Pahandi Bije’ was held on Sunday and the deities were taken out of the temple to the chariots. Rituals like Mangala Aarati, Abakas and Bata Bandha were held before pulling of the chariots. ‘Sandhya Dhupa’ ritual was performed and ‘Prasad’ offered to the deities at night. All the rituals performed during Puri Rath Yatra are followed here, he added.
The Baripada Rath Yatra is a novel affair where only women pull the chariot of Devi Subhadra. This tradition has now spread to other places.
The temple was built by Maharaja Baidyanath Bhanja Deo in 1575 AD.
According to legend, Maharaja Baidyanath had gone to Puri for darshan of Lord Jagannath. But he was unable to get a glimpse of the Lord as he could not offer gold coins. In another version of the legend, the King went to Puri in royal splendour with ‘Chhatra’ and ‘Chamara’ but Gajapati of Puri refused to grant him permission to enter Puri with his convoy.
The Maharaja then carried out penance near Atharnala on the outskirts of Puri. Lord Jagannath appeared in Maharaja’s dream and ordered him to construct a temple at Baripada following which a majestic temple was built.