Ratha Jatra: Divine chariots roll on Bada Danda amid sea of devotees in Puri

Puri: The divine chariots with Lord Jagannath and His holy siblings atop rolled on the Bada Danda following completion of rituals for Ratha Jatra today.

The deities began their 9-day annual sojourn to Gundicha Temple on grand chariots. The fervent devotees pulled the chariots — Lord Jagannath’s Nandighosha, Lord Balabhadra’s Taladhwaja and Goddess Subhadra’s Darpadalana — from Singhadwara towards Gundicha Temple, deities’ birthplace, with sounds of conch, cymbals, gongs, mrudanga (percussion instrument), reverberating the entire atmosphere.

The chariot pulling began following rituals of chhera pahanra performed by Puri King Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb on three chariots.

In the morning, the chariots were worshipped by the temple priest for the 9-day Ratha Jatra of deities. The deities were escorted to their respective chariots in dhadi pahandi by servitors from Anasar house. The subsidiary deities — Rama Krushna, Madan Mohan and Sudarshan — were also seated atop chariots for the divine journey.

After completion of pahandi rituals and deities were placed on their respective chariots, Puri Shankaracharya Nischalananda Saraswati accompanied by his disciples visited to offer prayer to deities atop the chariots. Later, Puri King Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb, who is the first servitor to Lord Jagannath, was escorted to Singhadwar to sweep the chariots with a golden broom.

At first, Taladhwaja chariot carrying Lord Balabhadra started rolling after 3 pm, ahead of schedule fixed by the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) for Ratha Jatra. Thereafter, the Darpadalana and Nandighosha chariots were pulled by devotees towards the Gundicha Temple.

Subsidiary deities Madan Moahan and Rama Krushna being escorted to chariots for Ratha Jatra.

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