Puri: The highly celebrated Ratha Yatra that is witnessing a sea of pilgrims in the city and began with the first mega ritual ‘Pahandi’ (ceremonial procession of deities).
The ceremonial Pahandi ritual started with the beating of cymbals, conch shells and amidst shouting of “Hari Bol and Jai Jagannath” as the priests carried the deities.
Lord Sudarshan, considered to be the pilot god, led the ceremonial procession as per the religious tradition. This was followed by the ‘Pahandi’ ritual of revered eldest brother Lord Balabhadra.
As Lord Sudarshan and Lord Balabhadra have already ventured out to the ‘Bada Danda’ (Grand Road), Devi Subhadra soon followed up the suit.
Lord Jagannath will give his Holy darsan to the crowd waiting for just a glimpse.
The journey of the deities to the world outside starts with a spectacular royal procession called Pahandi Bije. This Pahandi procession of the deities is in a row and is known as ‘Dhadi Pahandi’ or a group movement.
In Dhadi Pahandi procession the deities take rest whenever required during the journey to their respective chariots. All the deities move simultaneously one after the other in close succession. First Lord Sudarshana, then Balabhadra, then Subhadra and lastly Lord Jagannath are taken out from the Inner Sanctum.
At the seven-stairs northern exit from the dancing hall, the three deities assemble and receive giant floral crowns, called Tahias. Then the deities are literally pulled and pushed in rhythmic movement with the accompaniment of the beat of cymbals, drums and chanting of their names in chorus by devotees.
While Lord Sudarshana and Goddess Subhadra are carried on the shoulders, the Holy brothers’ duo is carried all the way with little pauses in forward and backward motions. The deities are ushered through the Pata Agana, Ananda Bazar, inner lion’s gate, Baishi Pahacha, lion’s gate, Gumuti, Arunastambha and finally to their respective chariots.