Pradeep Pattanayak

Pahandi originates from the Sanskrit word Padamundam, which in local dialects means a slow step-by-step movement with the spreading of the feet. And Bije means a procession of the king or the Gods. Pahandi literally means going forward in a step-by-step movement to the accompaniment of several devotees beating the ‘ghanta’, ‘kahali’ and ‘telingi baja’. 

Pahandi is of two types-Dhadi Pahandi and Goti Pahandi. 

Dhadi Pahandi takes place when the deities are taken out one after the other in such that they walk in a line. All the four Gods-Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra, Lord Jagannath and Lord Sudarshana- can be seen in this pahandi. This type of pahandi is seen during ‘Snana Purnima’, ‘Rath Yatra’ and ‘Bahuda Yatra’. The deities are taken out of the sanctum sanctorum following the order of Lord Sudarshan, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and lastly Lord Jagannath in a ceremonial procession amidst the beat of cymbals and chants of hymns. 

Whereas in the case of Goti Pahandi, which happens at the time of Adapa Mandap Bije and Niladri Bije, one God is taken to the ‘Adapa Mandap’ or to the ‘Ratna Singhashan’ after another. After one God is seated on the Mandap, another’s procession begins. 

Lord Sudarshan and Devi Subhadra do not have arms. So they are carried in a reclining position. However, the servitors have to keep in mind that the idols shouldn’t touch the ground. Whereas, during the ‘pahandi’, since the idols of Lord Balabhadra and Lord Jagannath are quite heavy, they are put on the ground from time to time. In other words, it can be said they take steps during the ceremonial procession. A large pillow is tied to the bottom of the idols to protect them from suffering any damage at the time of putting them on the ground.