BALASORE/BARIPADA:A wave of ecstasy swept across the towns of Nilagiri in Balasore district and Baripada in Mayurbhanj district on Sunday as devotees pulled the chariots of the Trinity during annual car festival. The chariots were pulled at the two places a day after the annual event at Puri.
In Nilagiri, though the ‘pahandi bije’ was performed on Saturday, the chariots are pulled a day later as per tradition. Another significance associated with the Rath Yatra here is that during ‘pahandi’, the path from the temple to chariot is covered with white cloth and the deities are moved on pillows which are lined up on the cloth. During the ‘Chhera Pahanra’, the deities are taken around the chariots before being placed on them, said Nilagiri king Jayanta Chandra Harichandan Mardaraj.
Two chariots with six deities (three from the temple and three from a local mutt) were pulled one after another, while only women pulled the small chariot.
At Baripada, though all the rituals and religious rites are performed in accordance with Puri, the chariots are pulled a day later. While the chariots of Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra are pulled till a certain distance on the second day, Lord Jagannath’s chariot is pulled on the third day. Hundreds of women pulled the chariot of Devi Subhadra amidst chanting of hymns.
Unlike Puri, the festival at Baripada continues for 13 days, said Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu, a native of Mayurbhanj who participated in the festival.
Women from different parts of the State, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh pulled the chariot. On Monday, it would cover the rest of the distance to reach Mausi Maa temple.
Mayurbhanj SP Anoop Krishna said at least 25 police and anti-Naxal forces, five DSPs, 12 inspectors, 89 sub-inspectors, four patrolling teams, five mobile patrolling and five civilian squads were deployed along the Grand Road in the town. Nearly 30 CCTVs were also installed to keep watch on anti-social elements during the festival.