12 July 2019
Puri: Soon after ‘Chhera Pahanra’ (ritualistic sweeping of chariots) was performed by Gajapati Maharaja, the ‘Charamala’ (wood plank-laden staircase) of the three chariots ‘Taladhwaja’, ‘Darpadalana’ and ‘Nandighosha’ were dismantled and horses were yoked to them.
The stage was set and the chariots rolled down the ‘Bada Danda’ (Grand Road) from Gundicha Temple back to Srimandir, thus marking the end of the annual nine-day sojourn.
Being the elder brother, Lord Balabhadra’s chariot ‘Taladhwaja’ stole the march as per the age-old custom. He paved the path for His loving sister Devi Subhadra and flamboyant younger brother Lord Jagannath. The darling of the crowd Lord Jagannath’s chariot ‘Nandighosha’, being the centre of attraction, was pulled at last.
While the chariot-pulling was expected to start at 4 pm, it began way ahead of schedule at 4 pm. On the way back, the Lords stopped for a short while and relished poda pitha, a type of cake made of rice, lentils, jaggery and coconut, offered by their aunt, Mausima.
On reaching home, the deities will stay back on the chariots till July 15. On Saturday, Lords will be decked up in glittering gold ornaments providing devotees with 'Suna Besha'. On Sunday, the Lords will be offered a refreshing drink called 'Adhara Pana', a sweet scented drink made up of milk, sugar and cheese, banana.