BHUBANESWAR:The Nabakalebara Rath Yatra in the Capital City was a spectacle in more ways than one. While children took charge of the rituals from ‘Pahandi’ to pulling the chariots in one part of the city, rituals had a touch of royalty in another part.
Roads were chock-a-block with devotees who came in hordes to participate in the annual sojourn of Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra. The celebration began early on Saturday morning with ‘Mangal Aarati’ in all the Jagannath temples.
In Old Town, the three chariots were pulled by hundreds of children in the age group of five to 15. Organised at Jameswarpatna by Sri Jagannath Rath Yatra Committee, near Lingaraj temple, the uniqueness of the yatra here is that only children are involved in all rituals. Construction of chariots, though, is done by the same set of ‘Maharanas’ who construct the Rukuna Rath of Lord Lingaraj every year.
“As per tradition, children take over all rituals related to Rath Yatra starting from consecration ceremony to Pahandi, Chhera Pahanra and pulling of chariots,” said committee president Lingaraj Sahoo. All these children belong to the families of Lingaraj temple ‘sevayats’. The three chariots reached the Gundicha temple at 6.20 pm.
The festivities in the oldest Jagannath temple in the city at Patiagarh had a royal touch to it. Patiagarh king Dibyasingh Deb-IV performed the ‘Chhera Pahanra’ and the chariot rolled for around 550 metres to reach Mausi Maa temple.
Thousands of devotees gathered near the temple to pull the sole chariot with the three deities. The Patiagarh Jagannath temple was built in 1227 by the then Patia king Ramachandra Deb and his son Raghunath Deb.
The fete at Iskcon temple drew the maximum crowd. Here, the newly-built flyover was an added advantage as many devotees preferred to view the event from from newly constructed over-bridge. After ‘Chhera Pahanra’ ritual which was performed in presence of Police Commissioner RK Sharma, Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena and BMC Deputy Mayor K Shanti, the three chariots started rolling at 3 pm to the Unit VIII Gundicha temple. The Darpadalana chariot of Devi Subhadra was pulled by women.
At ‘Shriveni Khetra’ of Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), over 20,000 devotees participated in pulling the three chariots to Mausi Maa temple at Sikharchandi. The ‘Chhera Pahanra’ was performed by KISS founder Achyuta Samanta.
The annual event was also celebrated at Tomando, Jagamara, Regional College of Management, Vani Vihar and Siripur.