PURI: Over seven lakh devotees converged at the Pilgrim Town to witness the Bahuda Yatra of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra on Monday.
The Trinity, who began their homeward journey riding their majestic chariots after spending nine days in the Gundicha temple, reached the Lion’s Gate at around 7.25 pm.
Despite high humidity, the devotees waited at the Nakachanadwar at the Saradhabali since early morning to witness the ceremonial pahandi. As soon as the deities were brought out of Gundicha temple, shlokas and ululation reverberated the surrounding.
The deities came galloping through the lengthy temple corridor with giant floral tiaras swinging on their foreheads. The scene captivated the devotees who jostled for a glimpse of Lords.
Prior to Bahuda Yatra, the Daita servitors spent the entire night fashioning the deities in ‘Chhenapatta’, a special armour to help the deities absorb the stress during the chariot ride. Early on Monday morning, after ‘Mangal Arati’ and ‘Surya puja’, the deities were offered ‘Khichidi bhog’ before beginning their return journey. The ‘Pahandi’ was advanced by an hour of the scheduled time.
The ‘pahandi’ began by 10.30 am and was completed by 1 pm. ‘Chhera Pahanra’ - sweeping of the deck by Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb with golden broomstick - was over by 2.25 pm.
The first rath Taladhwaja of Lord Balabhadra rolled out by 2.57 pm followed by Darpadalana of Devi Subhadra at 3.25 pm. Pulling of Lord Jagannath’s Nandighosh started at 3.38 pm and reached the Lion’s Gate at 7.25 pm.
On the way, the Trinity had ‘Podapitha’ baked by their aunt and then the Gajapati conducted ‘Laxminarayan Veta’ near his palace before the chariots were veered to their destination.
The administration steered all the three raths to the front of the Lion’s Gate amidst special lighting arrangement along the Grand Road.
The return car festival would be followed by ‘Sunabesha’ on Tuesday on the chariots.
District Magistrate Dhiren Pattnaik, SP Anup Kumar Sahu and temple chief administrator Arvind Padhee conducted the festival proceedings. DGP Sanjib Marik and other senior rank police officers were present.