Rashmi Ranjan

Devotees in large numbers thronged the Pilgrim Town of Puri to take part in the divine Chandan Yatra of Lord Jagannath and his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra which kicked started with traditional grandeur on Akshaya Tritiya on Sunday.

As per the belief, like ordinary people, the Holy Trinity also suffers from the scorching heat of summer. In a bid to beat the heat, the sibling deities enjoy water sports at Narendra Puskarini during the 21-day-long Chandan Yatra.

As per the rituals, Madan Mohan, the representative idol of Lord Jagannath, along with the representative idols of Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra, Bhudevi, Sridevi and five Shivalingas known as Pancha Pandavas are taken out of the sanctum sanctorum every evening, placed on lavishly decorated palanquins, known as bimanas and taken in a procession to Narendra tank.

After reaching Narendra tank, the deities are placed on giant swan-shaped boats popularly called Nanda and Bhadra for the famous Chapa Khela. The deities are given a sandalwood paste and aromatic water bath in the Chandan Kunda (bath tub). Before taking the deities back to the temple in the evening, they are dressed in flowers and offered the Mandya bhog (a special delicacy).

“The famous Chandan Yatra begins on Akshaya Tritiya. I have never witnessed this ritual of Lord Jagannath before. But I am fortunate to get the glimpse of the Chapa Khela today,” said a devotee.

“I cannot express my joy in words. The divine ritual is definitely a treat to the eyes,” said another devotee.

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