Bhubaneswar: Three majestic wooden chariots carrying Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra rolled on Badadanda (grand road) of Puri as the annual Rath Yatra 2021 was held in the absence of devotees on Monday.
The deities began their nine-day sojourn to Gundicha Temple, their aunt’s house.
Ratha Jatra was held only in Puri without devotees in view of the prevailing COVID-19 situation.
However, lakhs of devotees across the country glued to television sets in their respective houses to watch the annual extravaganza. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also watched television and took the blessings of the deities.
After the performance of all rituals inside the Jagannath Temple in the morning, the servitors escorted Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Sudarsana from their abode to their respective chariots in a ceremonial procession amid the blowing of conches and beating of cymbals.
The ceremonial procession of the deities is known as “Pahandi”.
The three deities were taken atop of the three traditionally decked up chariots-Nandighosa (for Jagannath), Taladhwaja (for Balabhadra) and Darpadalana (for Subhadra).
Later, Puri Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb performed ‘Chhera Panhara’, a major ritual of the annual festival. As per the ritual, Puri Gajapati performed the ceremonial sweeping of the three chariot floors with a golden broom.
With the performance of all rituals, the three gigantic chariots were pulled on the grand road.
The chariots were pulled to Gundicha temple, which is around 3 km away from the main Jagannath temple.
Lord Balabhadra’s chariot was the first one being pulled from the entrance of the Srimandir towards Gundicha temple.
Taladhwaja, the chariot of Lord Balabhadra, started rolling on Bada Danda (grand road) amidst chanting of hymns, blowing of conchs and the beating of gongs and cymbals.
Then, Darpadalana, the chariot of Devi Subhadra, started rolling on Bada Danda.
Lord Jagannath, the cynosure of all, came on his chariot Nandighosa to give Darsan to the devotees amid the chanting of ‘Jai Jagannath’.
A limited number of servitors pulled the chariots to Gundicha Temple.
All three chariots were parked at Saradha Bali in front of the Gundicha temple.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik thanked everyone including servitors, Puri district administration, Temple administration, health department and police for smooth conduct of Rath Yatra.
The CM also thanked the residents of Puri for their cooperation.
In order to avoid gathering, the administration has imposed curfew in Puri town and deployed security personnel to ensure that the Rath Yatra 2021 is held smoothly.