Odishatv Bureau

Puri: With just hours left for the world famous Ratha Jatra in Puri, the Daitapati sevayats are busy with last minute preparations to ensure that the elaborate series of rituals of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra are completed in time as per the instructions of the Shri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA).

Talking to OTV, senior Daitapati Binayak Dasmohapatra said the rituals of the deities would begin with ‘Senapata Lagi’ from midnight today.

“This ritual will take about 3-4 hours and will be completed by 4 AM. After this ritual, the Mangala Alati of the Lords is scheduled at 6 AM. This will be followed by other rituals like Alati, Abakasa, Surya Puja, Dwarapala Puja, Rosa Homa, Khichudi Bhoga, Mailam and Tadapa Lagi and Mangalarpana which will be completed by 9 AM. The pahandi of the deities would begin at 10 AM and will continue till 1 PM. After the deities are placed on their respective chariots, Gajapati Divyasingh Dev will perform Chhera Panhara on the chariots between 2 PM and 3 PM. After the departure of the Gajapati, wooden horses would be tied to the chariots after which the pulling of the chariots would begin at 3.30 PM,” he added.

Chief Administrator of SJTA Suresh Mohapatra said he, along with other officials, would constantly remain present near the chariots to ensure that the rituals of the deities are performed smoothly. "We have made alternative arrangements to engage more sevayats to perform the rituals in time," he said.

Asked about the restriction the SJTA has put on sevayats climbing on the chariots, he said only those sevayats who will perform rituals on the chariots will be allowed to climb.

Replying to a question on overcrowding of the chariots, he said SJTA has specifically fixed the number of sevayats for each chariot.

“For Nandighosha chariot, 80 Ghantuas and sevayats will be allowed while for Taladhwaja and Darpadalana chariots, 70 and 60 sevayats will be allowed respectively", he said adding that under no circumstances will devotees be allowed to climb on the chariots.