Elaborate arrangements were made by the district administration and security beefed up as the customary rituals were carried out at the Sabara Srikhetra on the occasion of Rath Yatra in Koraput on Friday.Amid chants and beating of drums, chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra rolled towards Gundicha temple which is one km away. The chariot of Devi Subhadra was pulled by women devotees.
For the first time, all three chariots were swept by tribal heads separately. Hundreds of tribals from various communities thronged to witness the grand event with their traditional costumes. Sources said around 200 security personnel were deployed at the spot to tackle any law and order situation. Among others, Jagannath temple management committee secretary Jagabandhu Samal, members BK Patnaik and Sudharkar Patnaik were present.
In Ganjam, celebrations were held in over 240 Jagannath temples across the district. Thousands of devotees participated in the sojourn of the Trinity despite the blistering heat. While most temples followed the Puri temple rituals, others practised it as per their own convenience.
The speciality of the festival in the district is that while chariots of most Jagannath temples are pulled as per rituals of the Puri Srimandir, those at Marada (Saran Srikhetra), Dharakote and Surangi are pulled one day after. No untoward incident was reported at any of the places despite huge crowds.
To avoid any mishap, power supply was disconnected at several places. The port town of Paradip witnessed similar pomp and gaeity as the car festival was celebrated after a gap of two years. The Jagannath Samaj of Paradip Port Authority (PPA) organised the event. As per tradition, Chairman of PPA, PL Haranadh perfomed the “Chhera Pahanra” ritual. Devotees irrespective of caste, creed and religion comprising port employees, CISF personnel, Port Users and public from Paradip Municipality and adjoining areas made a beeline to pull the Trinity’s chariot. During the entire event, masks were distributed to participants and Covid-appropriate rules were enforced.
The Kathdera village in Bargarh district echoed with festive fervour as deities from temples of six villages reached Mausi Maa temple, 10 kilometers away from the Attabira Block Headquarter town here on chariots on the day. The six villages are Bhursipali, Hirlipali, Lachida, Katabaga, Lurupali and Tingipali. While the deities are offered puja till Bahuda Yatra, cultural programmes and fun fairs are organised at the place with enthusiasm during the nine days. Thousands from nearby villages throng the place to witness the spectacle. This year, the festival has been organized on a very large scale and the budget increased to around ` 4-5 lakhs. Secretary of the Puja Committee and a villager of Hirlipali, Surya Kumar Bhoi said, “It is a legacy which we have been taking forward since last 74 years now.
Around 1,500 people have come here for the fest.” Devotees in large numbers poured onto the streets of the city to pay obeisance to the the Trinity on the chariots on Rath Yatra day in Rourkela. As usual, the Jagannath temple at Sector-3 was the biggest crowd puller from where the deities on chariots went on a nine-day visit to the Gundicha temple at Sector-19. Similarly, the chariots of the three deities from the Tarini temple were taken to the Gundicha temple at STI area. Celebrations also took place at Chhend Colony, Basanti Colony, Koelnagar, Fertilizer Township, Plant Site area, Traffic Gate area, Panposh, Bondamunda and many other places of the captive township of the Rourkela Steel Plant.
The festival, also observed at Sundargarh, Rajgangpur and Birmitrapur towns along with the Bonai sub-divisional headquarter and rural pockets of Sundargarh district, passed off peacefully amid elaborate security arrangements. However, despite Covid fear, the crowd was seen without masks.
In Keonjhar, the chariot of Lord Jagannath, touted to be world’s tallest at 72 feet, rolled from the Baladevjew temple amid a gathering of over 70,000 devotees this year.
Rath Yatra was celebrated with pomp in undivided Dhenkanal district with thousands of people trickling in to have a darshan of the Trinity on the chariot. In Angul district, the main function was organised at the district headquarters town of Angul where Collector Sidhartha Shankar Swain conducted Chhera Pahanra. Pulling of chariots began at about 2.30pm from Saila Srikhsetra and reached Mausi Maa temple at 7.30pm. The chariot of Subhadra was pulled by women. Car festival was also held in Jindal Steel and Power where hundreds of people gathered to participate in the celebration. JSP chairman Naveen Jindal performed Chhera Pahanra. Talcher too witnessed congregation of 50,000 people for Rath Yatra. Police made elaborate arrangements to maintain law and order. The Chhera Pahanra was conducted by the king of Talcher. In Dhenkanal the festival was celebrated with fanfare amid huge turnout of people.
In Jajpur district, Car festival on Friday was celebrated at many places. In Dharmasala, the Chhera Pahanra on the chariot was conducted by IIC of Dharmasala police station, as has been the tradition since 2016. IIC R K Tripathy, clad in royal attire, was brought to the Jagannath temple at Bhalukhai in a special decorated vehicle to perform the ritual. In Gadamadhupur, the scion of royal family Aparna Dhir Singh Bharadwaj performed Chera Pahanra. She has been performing the ritual for the last four years in the absence of a male member in the family. Rath Yatra at Chhatia was celebrated among masses with the pulling of chariots covering about 12 km distance. Many other places in the district like Sukinda, Jajpur town, Ichhapur, Laguan,Patapur, Mugpal, Bahadalapur, Bari, Haripur, Kuakhia, Narasinghpur, Jagannathpur, Dasarathapur, Brahmabarada, Binjharpur, Talagarh and Darpani also celebrated the festival.
More than 10,000 devotees gathered near the Jagannath temples here to witness Rath Yatra in Malkangiri district. Collector Vishal Singh conducted Chhera Pahanra. A separate chariot was also made by the forest department like every year. In Balimela town too more than 15,000 devotees congregated to celebrate the festival.