The bureaucrat-turned-politician received a rousing welcome by the saffron party workers on his arrival at the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar.
Although the absence of devotees has taken the sheen away from the festival, the return journey of the almighty is being held amid restrictions and Covid protocol for the second consecutive year.
This is for the second year when the state government prohibited the 'Bol Bom Jatra' with the possibility of a third wave of COVID-19 looming large this time.
The administration imposed curbs across the 3-km long Grand Road from Shree Jagannath Temple to Sri Gunducha Temple where all activities excluding medical emergencies are prohibited.
The famous nine-day Maa Hingula Jatra took off at Gopalprasad village under Talcher block here on Monday though with Covid restrictions.
On the day, 35 fresh Covid cases were reported from Jagatsinghpur, taking the tally to 9,288.