Puri: A sea of devotees thronged Odisha’s pilgrim city Puri to take part in the world famous Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath and his two siblings – elder brother Balabhadra and younger sister Subhadra.
The festivities, which started a fortnight earlier, would peak on today when the three deities would be taken on huge wooden chariots to their aunt’s house. It is one of the world’s oldest rituals that attract a large number of people.
The Pahandi rituals of the Trinity are being conducted to their respective chariots have begun for the Rath Yatra.
The Pahandi started with the idol of Lord Sudarshan being escorted to Goddess Subhadra’s chariot. Lord Balabhadra was carried by the servitors from the temple in a grand procession. This will follow the Pahandi of Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath.
In the morning, Sakala Dhupa and rituals of Mangala Alati were performed followed by Mailama, Tadapalagi and Rosa Hama. Later, Abakash Niti, Surya Puja and Dwarapala Puja were performed.
Three majestic chariots, Nandighosa (Lord Jagannath), Taladhwaja (Balabhadra) and Darpadalan (Subhadra), have been kept ready in front of the 12th century shrine, which will be pulled by devotees. After fixing of wooden horses to the chariots, the pulling is scheduled to start by 4 pm.
The annual festival, which will commence from Jagannath temple, will conclude at Shree Gundicha temple considered as the aunt’s place of the deities.
The devotees will pull the grand chariots on the road covering a nearly 2.5 km distance.
Though a Hindu ritual, Ratha Yatra gives the non-Hindus a chance to have a glimpse of the deities.
Mentioned in the old scriptures such as Skanda Purana, Brahama Purana and Padma Purana, the yatra is celebrated on the second day of new moon in the month of July every year.