KORAPUT:Thousands of devotees, tribals in particular, thronged the Sabara Srikhetra of Koraput to pull the sole chariot carrying the three deities on Saturday. Early in the morning, the deities were taken for a holy bath by the temple priests and a special ritual was conducted prior to the ‘Pahandi’ of Trinity.
Later, amid chanting of mantras and beating of drums, the deities were taken out in ‘Pahandi’ to the chariot. As per the age-old tradition, a tribal villager Dasi Nayak of Kumbhaiput village was crowned king for the day and he performed the ‘Chhera Pahanra’. The chariot was pulled to the Gundicha temple in the noon.
Dressed in their traditional head gears and costumes, people of Bhumiya, Kondh, Botra, Amantya, Paioko, Parja, Soura, Gadva, Bonda and Darua tribes took part in pulling the chariots.
At the Sabara Srikhetra, the Lord is worshipped as ‘Daru Brahma’. The Rath Yatra is linked to the ‘Saura’ tribals who worship Lord Jagannath as their presiding deity.
Legend has it that a ‘Saura’ tribal chief Biswabasu, who served Lord Jagannath, worshipped Him in a wooden form. Even till this date, the wooden form of The Lord finds place in the village temples of Laxmipur, Boipariguda, Narayanpatna, Pottangi, Gunupur, Bissam Cuttack, Nandapur, Kotia and Semiliguda.
The Jagannanth temple of Sabara Srikhetra was built in 1972 and the practice of Rath Yatra started after consecration of the temple. Elaborate security arrangements were made for the festival.
At Jeypore while Rath Yatra rituals were performed on the day, the chariots will be pulled on Sunday, a day after the chariots in Puri reach Gundicha temple.