Bhubaneswar, July 3 (IANS) Lakhs of devotees from across the country and abroad witnessed Bahuda Yatra, the return car festival of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Lord Sudarshan and Devi Subhadra in Puri on Monday.
The deities returned to Jagannath Temple from their annual nine-day sojourn from Gundicha Temple, their birthplace, on three large wooden chariots.
The deities go to Gundicha temple during the Rath Yatra, which marks the journey of the deities from the 12th-century shrine to the temple of Devi Gundicha, their aunt.
Several special rituals were performed before the deities were taken out of the Gundicha temple and placed on the three decorated giant chariots for the return journey.
The deities were taken to their chariots in a procession called ‘Pahandi’ amid the beating of gongs, cymbals and blowing of conch shells.
After the completion of the Bahuda Pahandi, the Chhera Panhara rituals were performed by Gajapati King of Puri Divya Singha Deb. He swept the platforms of the chariots with a golden broom and sprinkled flowers and fragrant water.
Then, lakhs of devotees pulled the three giant chariots on ‘Bada Danda’ (grand road). The deities have been stationed in front of Jagannath temple. They would re-enter the shrine following a ceremony called ‘Neeladribije’.
The deities would enter the sanctum sanctorum of the main temple after offering Rasagola Bhog called Niladri Bije, marking the end of the festival. Ahead of the festival, the siblings would be decorated with ‘Suna Besha’ with golden attire on Tuesday.