Rath Yatra: Chariots roll on Grand Road in Puri
Puri: Spirituality is at its peak on the Grand Road here as the grand and colourful chariot of Lord Balabhadra began rolling with a sea of devotees pulling the Taladhwaja Rath. Soon after, Debadalana chariot carrying Goddess Subhadra and Nandighosha chariot of Lord Jagannath were also pulled by devotees. The chariots of Goddess Subhadra and Lord Jagannath are also all set to roll. This has set off the nine day vacation of the deities to their aunt’s house at Gundicha temple.
The rituals of the festival ran late by over an hour. After pahandi of the deities, Shankaracharya paid a visit to the Trinity on the chariots. Gajapati Dibyasingh Deba performed the Chhera Panhara rituals.
Devotees from far and wide have gathered outside the Jagannath temple to participate in chariot pulling. While many devotees are busy chanting the deities names in kirtans in groups, many have dressed up as dancers or even as mythological characters of Hanuman and Lord Shiva.
Foreign tourists also visited the pilgrim town in large numbers including many devotees of Lord Jagannath.
The fervor was seen even alongside the road were devotees watched the proceedings from vantage points like hotels, private buildings and old Dharmashalas and mutts situated on the Grand Road in large numbers.
As the chariots of the three deities reach half way, they stop their journey to continue it on the next day. Taladhwaja stops near Balagandi, Debadalana near Bagala Dharmashala and Nandighosha near Town Police Station. The journey will resume at 9 am on Monday, while the preparations will start from 8 am.
Meanwhile, police cordon has been set up around the chariots. Devotees can only have darshan of the deities from outside the cordon.
The deities will now return to the Jagannath temple only on the ninth day of the festival during the Bahuda Yatra.