The chariot pulling was preceded by ‘Pahand Bijay’
The annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath, His brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra began in the city amid tremendous enthusiasm and religious fervour.
Braving heavy downpour, hundreds of devotees from various communities pulled the chariots taken out separately by the Utkal Sanskrutika Samaj, Sri Jagannathaswamy Temple Devasthanam of Old Town and Utkalika Cultural Association of Ukkunagaram. ISKCON organised the Rath Yatra from Sampath Vinayak temple.
The divine journey began after the deities were taken into the tastefully decorated chariots amid chanting of Haribol to the accompaniment of music from traditional instruments like mrudangam, dappu, cymbals and conchs.
The chariot pulling was preceded by ‘Pahand Bijay’ – bringing the deities as per tradition in small rally to the chariot and Chera Pahanra – the sweeping of floor with golden or silver broom. This signifies the fact that before the Lord of the Universe all are the same – whether a king or an ordinary person.
During annual rath yatra, Lord Jagannath, His brother and sister move out of the temple for their annual sojourn at their aunt’s place – known as Gundicha Ghar. Lord Jagannath will be decked up as various incarnations of Lord Vishnu during the sojourn.
At the rath yatra organised by Utkal Sanskrutika Samaj, the Chera Pahanra was done by Lal Saheb Pramod Chandra Deo, brother of late Purna Chandra Deo Bhanj, former rajah of Daspalla. Commissioner of Police B. Shivadhar Reddy took part. Later the chariot was taken to Gundicha Ghar near Shanti Ashram on the beach road.
“Lord Indra has blessed us, which is a good sign,” Samaj president and Orissa Stevedores Ltd General Manager J.K. Nayak said referring to the rain that lashed in the city after a long gap.
The city’s oldest yatra, taken out by Jagannathaswamy Temple Devasthanam of Old Town was witnessed by scores of devotees on the busy Main Road.
The chariot started rolling from the temple till Turner’s Choultry amid tight security.
Government Whip Dronamraju Srinivas, city MLAs Malla Vijay Prasad and Tynala Vijay Kumar offered prayers along with the officials of Endowment Department.
Gaiety marked rath yatra at VSP township of Ukkunagaram. The rath was pulled inside the township from the main temple complex under the aegis of Sri Jagannath Temple Management Committee amid chanting of ‘Jai Jagannath’ and Haribol.
RINL Chairman-cum-Managing Director A.P. Choudhary accompanied by Lata Choudhary performed the Chera Pahanra. RINL Directors Umesh Chandra (Operations), P. Madhusudan (Finance), T.K. Chand, (Commercial) and N.S. Rao (Projects) along with their family members offered prayers.
Odissi and Sambalpuri folk dances were performed in the evening by Nartaki Group of Bhubaneswar.
Ms. Lata Choudhary, who is the president of Visteel Mahila Samiti inaugurated the handicrafts exhibition put up on the occasion of Rath Yatra in the temple premises.
The exhibition will be opened to the public till July 18.