The historical annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath and his siblings came to an end with the 'Niladri Bije' ritual on Tuesday. Ending their annual sojourn, Holy Trinity- Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra returned to the sanctum sanctorum of Puri Srimandir.
The 9-day festival concluded as per the traditions. The ceremonial return of the deities into the temple was kicked off with the customary Goti Pahandi ritual of Lord Sudarshan. Servitors ushered the idol of the Chakraraj into the temple amid the chants of Hari Bol and a chorus of hundreds of gongs and conches.
Bada Thakura Balabhadra descended from his majestic Taladhwaja chariot and was taken into the Srimandir in ceremonial 'pahandi' and later placed on the Ratna Singhashana after staying out of the temple for nearly 11 days.
Thereafter, servitors took out the procession of Jagat Janani Devi Subhadra into the sanctum sanctorum. Adorned with Tahia, the special floral crown, the Goddess was escorted into the temple with the whole atmosphere reverberating with chants.
The Badadanda erupted in the chants of Jai Jagannath as servitors alighted the Lord of the Universe, Kalia Thakura from his chariot, Nandighosa.
As per tradition, His ‘Goti Pahandi’ was obstructed by his consort Goddess Mahalaxmi as She was annoyed at being left behind in the temple. An altercation broke out between him and the angry Goddess Laxmi who refused to let him inside for leaving her alone in the temple during his sojourn.
Lord Jagannath was let in only after he offered rasagolla and a saree to his wife to appease her. With the curtains down on the annual festival, devotees feel blessed after a hiatus of two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The excitement of the devotees was uncontained this year as they got to visit the shrine and participate in the Rath Yatra after two years.
Around 180 platoons of armed police personnel, including 1,000 officers of various ranks, had been deployed in and around the city, while 50 CCTV cameras have been installed on Grand Road and other parts of Puri to ensure the safety of the festival.
The Puri administration finally briefed a sigh of relief as the festival went well.