The return sojourn of the Holy Trinity- Lord Jagannath and his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra to Srimandir, after spending seven days at the Gundicha temple, is known as the Bahuda Jatra. It is an important part of Ratha Jatra and is the reverse process of the world famous festival. During the festival, the images of the deities are brought out of the Gundicha temple through the ‘Nakachana Dwara’ in Pahandi (a special procession), amid beats of cymbals and gongs and the sound of conches.
The deities are taken in the same chariots- Nandighosha, Taladhwaja and Darpadalana, in which they arrived, pulled by devotees back to the main temple-Srimandir. Odishi and Gotipua dancers perform to the tune of devotional music in front of the chariots, and martial artistes perform ‘banati’, a traditional martial art, in front of the deities. It is considered auspicious to get a glimpse of the deities on their chariots. Return journey of Lord Jagannath (Bahuda Jatra) follows the same protocol and schedule.
On the returning day from Gundicha temple the three deities are offered ‘Poda Pitha’ (a special sweet made of rice, coconut, lentils and jiggery) and after that they start their journey. After reaching closer to Srimandir, the chariot of Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra are stationed at ‘Singha Dwara’ (Lion Gate) but Lord Jagannath’s Rath halts in front of the Gajapati King’s palace. On the other hand, Maa Laxmi (wife of Lord Jagannath) steals a glimpse at ‘Chahani Mandapa’ to enquire about the safe return of three deities from Gundicha temple. Lord Jagannath offers a garland to Goddess Laxmi as the souvenir of his love.