PURI: More than four lakh devotees descended on the pilgrim town of Puri on Sunday to witness Lord Jagannath’s Nabakalebara “Bahuda Yatra”, the return car festival of the deities, amid tight security.
As per tradition, the locals and Panchakosi devotees conducted the ‘Bahuda Yatra.’ It was raining here till 2.30 pm on Sunday, but by the time the pulling of chariots began, the rain stopped.
Wrapping up their nine-day sojourn to Sri Gundicha Temple, the new idols of Lord Jagannath, elder brother Lord Balabhadra and their sister Devi Subhadra set off for their return journey to the 12th century shrine on three majestic wooden chariots and reached Simhadwara of Srimandir.
A multi-layer security net was thrown over the seashore town amid heavy deployment of force to ensure smooth celebrations and prevent any untoward incident. The festivities were, however, marred by the death of a devotee after he fell unconscious while performing Sankitan during Pahandi ceremony of the Lords at Gundicha temple.
One Dies During ‘Bahuda’
Puri: A devotee died during Lord Jagannath’s Nabakalebara ‘Bahuda Yatra’ here on Sunday after he fell unconscious while performing Sankirtan. Rajkishore Swain of Nayagarh district fell and lost consciousness while performing Sankirtan and chanting the Lord’s name at Sri Gundicha temple during the Pahandi ceremony of the presiding deities. He was rushed to district headquarters hospital where doctors declared him dead. The exact reason of his death was, however, yet to be ascertained.
Several special rituals were performed before the deities journeyed out of the Gundicha temple to the three colourfully decorated chariots for the return journey as sound of “Jai Jagannath” rent the air. The three deities were taken to the chariots in an elaborate royal ritual called ‘Pahandi Bije’ to the beating of gongs, cymbals and blowing of conch shells as devotees and sevayats jostled to have a closer look.
The Gajapati of Puri Dibyasingha Deb arrived from his palace for the ‘Chhera Pahanra’ ritual. He offered prayers to the deity and then swept the platforms with a golden broom and sprinkled flowers and fragrant water. The ritual was over by 3.30 pm. The deities would be decorated with “Suna Besha”, golden attire, on Monday on the chariots, which is expected to attract a large number of devotees.