Ratha Jatra: Lord Jagannath’s 9-day sojourn begins in Odisha’s Puri

Puri: A sense of devotion gripped Bada Danda in the pilgrim town of Puri with the air reverberated with chants of ‘Haribol’ and sounds of gongs and cymbals as Ratha Jatra of the Lord of the Universe began with much fervour and grandeur.

After being restricted for the last two years, devotees from across the country and abroad have thronged the pilgrim town to have darshan of Lord Jagannath on Ratha Jatra. Odisha Government had restricted public participation in the annual car festival for the last two years citing COVID-19 pandemic.

Ratha Jatra, the nine-day annual sojourn of Lord Jagannath and His siblings, is held on Dwitiya Tithi of Shukla Paksha in the month of Ashadha.

Rituals of deities-Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Sudarshan–began over three hours ahead of the schedule today. Following rituals, including Mangala Alati, Abakash, Sakala Dhoopa and Mangalarpan, Pahandi of the deities began at around 7 am.

‘Bada Thakuara’ Lord Balabhadra was the first to be escorted out of the sanctum sanctorum of Srimandir, followed by Devi Subhadra, Lord Sudarshan and Lord Jagannath, in a grand procession of Dhadi Pahandi. Pahandi of all deities was completed by around 9 am. Later, the deities were seated atop of their respective chariots–Nandighosha, Taladhwaja and Darpadalana.

To ensure smooth conduct of the grand festival with public participation after a gap of two years, the district administration and Odisha police have made elaborate arrangements in the pilgrim town.

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