Puri: The three gigantic chariots- Nandighosh of Lord Jagannath, Taldhwaja of Lord Balabhadra and Darpa Dalana of Devi Subhadra- started rolling on the holy Bada Danda soon after the Chhera Pahara ritual was performed by the King of Puri, Gajapati Maharaja Divya Singha Dev, as per schedule. Before that Pahandi Bije Of Holy Trinity Ends.
The King, belonging to the Ganga dynasty, who was clad in all royal finery, came in a silver plated palanquin at around 11 am to perform the sweeping ritual on the chariots. As the first servant of the Lord, the King swept the floor of the chariots with a golden broom in order to pave way for the rolling of the chariots to begin.
Notably, the Puri King had abstained from the most important hereditary ritual last year on account of the Covid-19 pandemic. The same was undertaken by a ‘Mudirasta’ servitor, who is the representative of the Gajapati.
The ritual signifies that there is no distinction between a king and a sweeper before the Lord.
Before the divine sweeping ritual, the Sankaracharya of Puri Dham, Swami Nischalananda Saraswati paid obeisance to the deities on the chariots. He visited the Lords along with a handful of disciples as per the invitation of Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA).
After Chhera Pahanra, the wooden horses- painted brightly in brown, black and white colours – were fixed to the three chariots followed by removal of ‘Charamala’ (ramps) marking the initiation of the pulling of the chariots.
As per government decision, only servitors are pulling the chariots as devotees have been barred to take part in the festival this year due to Covid pandemic.
As per schedules, the three deities and Lord Sudarsan were taken to the chariots from the sanctum sanctorum of Srimandir in a spectacular procession called Pahandi Bije, which is one of the significant rituals of Ratha Jatra. All the deities were taken one after the other in close succession which is called Dhadi Pahandi, which is performed only on the occasion of Sri Gundicha day. The procession of the Lords on Bahuda Jatra is called Goti Pahandi.