CUTTACK:The Millennium City on Saturday soaked in the Nabakalebara fervour with Rath Yatra pageantry scaling new heights. Thousands flocked to Jagannath temples to take part in the annual sojourn of the Holy Trinity as the chariots trundled majestically across thoroughfares of the city.
Along with the traditional favourites of Chandni Chowk and Dolmundai, the Rath Yatra this year had a new addition in Ranihat, which also drew enthusiastic crowd. As usual, huge gathering of devotees marked Chandni Chowk and Dolmundai temples from the morning, when the Pahandi Bije ritual was performed as per tradition, and soared around 2 pm, when the deities were installed on the chariots to be pulled through customary routes to their respective Gundhicha temples.
The Chandni Chowk Rath Yatra, though, had a slight change in route as the destination of Mausima temple has been shifted from the earlier Sati Choura Chhak to near the Kafla police outpost this year. The rituals at the biggest Jagannath temple of the city were held on time and massive surge of devotees pulled the grandly festooned chariots of Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath without any hitch. The chariots accompanied by traditional ‘Ghoda Nacha’, ‘Naga Besha’ and martial art demonstration, reached their destination in time.
Thousands also lined up at Dolmundai temple to take part in the ceremony. As is the tradition with the car festival here, the chariot was exclusively pulled by women. The chariots followed the route from Dolmundai to Haripur and back to Pithapur, where the Gundicha temple is located.
The Rath Yatra ceremony at Ranihat Jagannath temple also proved to be a major crowd puller. Celebrated for the first time, the deities were installed in a single chariot with Collector Nirmal Chandra Mishra performing the ‘chhera pahanra’ (sweeping) rituals. The chariot was enthusiastically drawn through Ranihat, College Square and back to Ranihat Durga Mandap where the Gundicha Ghar has been set up.
The Rath Yatra festival across the city passed off without any incident or eventuality. The Commissionerate Police had deployed more than 20 platoons of armed police and instituted traffic regulation to ensure smooth conduct of festival.