Puri: Lakhs of devotees from across the country and abroad thronged this pilgrim town to witness the Bahuda Jatra (return journey) of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra, with concluded peacefully amid tight security today.
The festival began with a series of rituals performed by the servitors in the wee hours today. Due to the timely conduct of the rituals, the pahandi (procession) of the deities began and hour and half before schedule.
After the Daitapati servitors brought Lord Sudarshan and the three deities to the chariots, the Gajapati King Divyasingh Deb was brought from his royal palace in a palanquin to conduct ‘Chhera Panhara’ on the chariots of the Lords.
The pulling of the chariots began with the pulling of Taladhwaja chariot of Lord Balabhadra at 2.50 PM followed by the Darpadalana chariot of Devi Subhadra and the Nandighosa chariot of Lord Jagannath.
While the Taladhwaja and Darpadalana chariots reached the Simhadwara of Srimandir before evening, the Nandighosa chariot arrived late in the evening.
A multi-layer security net was thrown around the town with heavy deployment of forces to ensure the smooth celebration of the Bahuda Jatra and to prevent any untoward incident, a senior police official said.
The deities would be decorated with Sunabesha or golden attire, which traditionally attracts a large number of devotees, on the chariots tomorrow.
Talking about the arrangements made for the Sunabesha of the deities, chief administrator of Shri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Suresh Mohapatra said the barricades would made around the three chariots tonight. “We will make arrangements to leave more space within the barricaded are to allow smooth movement of the devotees to have the darshan of the deities. Besides, I have requested the Daitapati servitors not to block the deities on the chariots so that the devotees can have a clear darshan of the deities,” he added.
Director General of Police (DGP) KB Singh said all arrangements have been made for the smooth darshan of the deities. “We have made three-tier security arrangements to ensure smooth movement of the devotees inside the barricades in a queue. The way the Rath Jatra and Bahuda Jatra were conducted peacefully, the Sunabesha of the deities will also be held peacefully,” he asserted.
Laxmidhar Pujapanda, Public Relations Officer, SJTA, said efforts are on to start the Sunabesha rituals of the deities at the earliest possible. “It all depends on whether the servitors cooperate with the temple administration in conducting the rituals in time the way they did today during the Bahuda Yatra for which the chariots of the three deities could arrive at the Simhadwara in time,” he pointed out.
Senior Daitapati servitor Jagannath Dasmohapatra said lakhs of devotees would throng to Puri to have the Sunabesha darshan of the deities. “The importance of the Sunabesha darshan is that as per mythology, a devotee having the darshan of the deities in their golden attire will have no rebirth,” he noted.
The deities would finally re-enter the 12th century shrine and again be placed on the Ratna Simhasana following a ceremony called Neeladribije.