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Thousands descend on Puri

Staff Reporter
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Chariots taken in a spectacular procession to Mausi Maa Temple

ETHNIC TOUCH:Santhali tribal residents of Niladri Vihar dancing to the tune of traditional music instruments during the Rath Jatra in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday.— Photo: Lingaraj Panda
ETHNIC TOUCH:Santhali tribal residents of Niladri Vihar dancing to the tune of traditional music instruments during the Rath Jatra in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday.— Photo: Lingaraj Panda

Lakhs of devotees thronged the coastal town of Puri as chariots of sibling deities Lord Balabhadra, Lord Jagannath and Devi Subhadra were pulled from the 12th century-old abode on occasion of annual Rath Yatra on Wednesday.

Chariots were taken in a spectacular procession to Mausi Maa Temple which is considered as deities’ aunt’s house, covering a distance of three-km-long Grand Road. A sea of devotees surged the town while more than 100 platoons of armed police personnel were assigned to manage vehicular movement as well as to keep watch on terror activities.

From the morning activities involving performing of intricate rituals of deities were witnessed in Shri Jagannath Temple, Puri. By 9 a.m., devotees from every conceivable space near the temple had their eyes fixed on entrance point of the temple. Hordes of servitors cordoned by police personnel carried the huge wooden idols from the temple swaying them rhythmically in a ritual described as ‘pahandi’. While thousands of devotees jostled their way near the entrance of temple for seeing ‘Pahandi’ from very close distance, lakhs were glued to television screens across the State and globe for the ritual.

Devotees danced ecstatically shouting ‘Jai Jagannath’ and ‘Haribol’ as loudly as they could. Many were seen dropping to the ground frequently as a mark of their devotion to the deities. Gajapati Divyasingha Deb, who is regarded as Puri’s designated king, executed customary ‘Chhera Pahanra’ - sweeping the wooden floors of three chariots. Subsequently, chariots were pulled. Chariots, however, could not reach the destination by evening. The pulling of chariots would be resumed on Thursday.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his cabinet colleagues were present in Puri.


  • Security in and around Puri was tightened in view of the explosion at Bodh Gaya

  • Closed circuit cameras were installed and police were kept ready for emergency situations


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