PURI: The juggernauts of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra have started rolling on Bada Danda (grand road) of Puri as lakhs of devotees thronged to the holy city to have a glimpse of the deities.
The devotees are pulling the three gigantic colourfully decked up wooden chariots with utmost devotion. The chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra are called Nandighosha, Taladhwaja and Darpadalana respectively.
First, Taladhwaja of Lord Balabhadra started rolling followed by Darpadalana of Devi Subhadra and Nandighosha of Lord Jagannath.
Earlier in the day, the three deities of the 12th-century shrine were brought to the chariots amid chanting of hymns, beating of cymbals, drums and blowing of conch shells (Pahandi Bije of deities).
Following the completion of Pahandi procession, the deities were seated on their grand wooden chariots. Later, Gajapati Bibyasingh Deb performed Chhera Panhara on the chariots 3.30 mp. The Chhera Panhara ritual, where the Puri King sweeps all around the deities and chariots, completed about 4 pm.
The Gajapati cleansed the chariots with a gold-handled broom and sprinkled sandalwood water with utmost devotion.
The three deities are taken from Srimandir in the chariots to the temple of Devi Gundicha, their aunt. They stay there for nine days and the deities again ride the chariots back to Shri Mandir in Bahuda Yatra to be held on July 14.
The sacred Bada Danda (Grand Road) has virtually turned into an ocean of devotees. Even the roaring of Bay of Bengal failed to compete with the chanting of devotees, who have thronged the holy land to take part in the nine-day-long chariot festival.
Director General of Police (DGP) KB Singh said elaborate security arrangements had been made to ensure smooth functioning of the festival.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and other ministers along with officials witnessed the car festival in Puri.