Rath Yatra: Chariot wheel initiation ritual concludes

Puri: Despite defects in the wheel and axles of chariots of Lord Jagannath and his sibling deities, the ‘Ratha Chaka Dera Anukula’ or the initiation of chariot wheels ceremony for the upcoming Rath Yatra was carried out on time at Puri Srimandir today on the occasion of ‘Bhaunri’ Festival.

The ‘Mangal Alati’ and ‘Sakala Dhupa’ of the three Lords were carried out on time following which the ‘Agyaan Mala’ was brought to the Ratha Khala (chariot construction yard).

After receiving the ‘Agyaan Mala,’ the ‘Biswakarma’ servitors conducted the initiation ceremony. Thereafter, the ‘Akha Sanjogikaran Karyakram’ or fixing of chariot wheels to axles was carried out by ‘Maharana’ and ‘Bhoi’ servitors.

Thousands of devotees thronged Puri to witness this sacred ritual on the concluding day of ‘Bahara Chandan Yatra’ of the holy trinity which is also known as ‘Bhaunri’ Festival.

“While a total of six wheels and three axles have been laid out for the three chariots in the first phase today, construction and installation of 36 wheels and axles will be completed in phases and on the day after the ‘Sital Sasthi’ all the structures will be assembled and chariots will be all ready before the Rath Yatra on July 14, this year,” said ‘Nandighosha’ chariot’s chief ‘Maharana’ servitor, Bijay Mohapatra.

On the other hand, Chief Administrator of Puri Srimandir, Pradeep Jena urged the servitors associated with the construction work of chariots to be cautious so as to not miss out any defects which could pose a threat to the safety of chariots.

“Replacement of the chariot wheels and axles were done to ward off any danger and I hope that in coming days everyone will be alert so that problems can be avoided,” Jena said.

Earlier on Saturday, members of the chariot construction engineering committee noticed that a part of a wheel of Devi Subhadra’s chariot had developed a crack while an axle of Lord Jagannath’s chariot had a big hole and the axle of Taladhwaja was weak following which the defective parts were replaced.