Sharmili Mallick

Puri: A day after Lord Balabhadra, Mahaprabhu Jagannath and Devi Subhadra were offered ‘Adhara Pana’, Niladri Bije, the entry of deities into the sanctum sanctorum of Srimandir would be performed today evening.

Niladri Bije is the concluding ritual of Rath Yatra during which the deities are offered Rasagola by servitors before the Pahandi ceremony. Later, the deities are escorted in ‘Goti Pahandi’ to Sriman`dir after ‘Sandhya Dhoopa’.

Lord Jagannath is first escorted to ‘Bheta Mandap’ in the ceremonial Pahandi where he meets Goddess Laxmi and offers her Rasagolas. It is believed that the Mahaprabhu offers the sweet to appease Goddess Laxmi, who is upset after being left alone at the Srimandir by the Holy Trinity. After completion of this ritual, Lord Jagannath is escorted to the Ratna Singhasan where he joins his siblings.

“All the rituals including Sahana Mela, Rath Yatra, Bahuda Yatra, Suna Besh, the Adhara Pana rituals were conducted smoothly with the co-ordination of the servitors. We believe that Niladri Bije rituals will also be hassle-free,” said senior servitor Binayak Das Mohapatra.

“As Lunar Eclipse will occur on Tuesday, the Pahandi Bije of the Holy Trinity for Niladri Bije will start at 4 PM and conclude by 10 PM,” informed Public Relation Officer of SJTA, Laxmidhar Pujapanda.

Earlier on Sunday, large numbers of devotees throng Badadanda to witness the Adhara Pana ritual of the sibling deities. It is one of the main attractions during the annual Rath Yatra.

As part the ritual, a special drink is made using milk, cream, banana, and different types of spices; and filled in nine large barrel-shaped earthen pitchers which are placed before the three deities on their respective chariots (three on each chariot).

After ‘Sodosha Upachar Pooja’ by priests, the drink is offered to the Holy Trinity. Soon after the offering, the barrels are smashed on the chariots spilling the drink on the floor.

As per servitors, apart from ‘Parshwadevatas’, several ghostly bodies and souls who trail with the Lords during the Rath Yatra eagerly wait for this moment. It is believed that such evil spirits attain salvation (Mokshya) by drinking the holy drink which is spilled on the chariot decks.