SAMBALPUR:With Jagannath temples dotting the landscape in every revenue village of the district, the Nabakalebara Rath Yatra was celebrated with pomp and gaiety on Saturday. In Sambalpur City, Lord Jagannath is worshipped in 26 mutts and temples. Rath Yatra is celebrated in 24 temples.
The grandest Rath Yatra was celebrated at Brahmapura Jagannath temple which is considered the oldest in the district. Although the temple was built between 1594 AD and 1620 AD, Nabakalebara was observed this year for the first time. Here, ‘Brahma Parivartan’ was performed on June 15. Thousands of devotees pulled the sole chariot with the idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra to Mausi Maa temple. A senior person of Brahmapura performed the ‘Chhera Pahanra’.
Unlike the tradition prevalent in Puri, where each deity has a separate chariot, all the three deities with Sudarshan are seated in one chariot in the district. The chariots in Sambalpur City are pulled only after those in Puri roll out. Hence, the deities’ sojourn usually begins in the afternoon and continues till night unlike Puri where Rathas are not pulled after sunset. On the occasion, parents took their newborns to touch the deities in the chariots. The practice, believed to be auspicious for the babies, is known as ‘Ratha Chhuan’.
Apart from Brahmapura temple, Rath Yatra was celebrated in Jagannath temples at Khetrajpur, Dhanupali and Rengalbeda in Kuchinda block of the district.