12 July 2019
Puri: Devotees from across the country and abroad thronged Puri to witness Lord Jagannath’s ‘Bahuda Yatra’ – the return car festival which was held amid tight security. A multi-layer security net was thrown in the town with heavy deployment of forces to ensure smooth celebrations and prevent any untoward incident.
Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Lord Balabhadra and their sister Devi Subhadra wrapped up their annual nine-day sojourn to Sri Gundicha Temple, their birth place and returned to Sri Jagannath temple riding three majestic wooden chariots - the 45 feet-high ‘Nandighosh’, 44 feet-high ‘Taladhwaja’ and 43 feet-high ‘Darpadalan’.
Special rituals were performed before the deities were taken out of the Gundicha temple and placed on the three decorated chariots amid chants of ‘Jai Jagannath’. The Holy Trinity were taken to their chariots in the elaborate 'Pahandi' ritual to the beating of gongs, cymbals and blowing of conch shells.
In their 'Adapa Mandapa', (their place of birth), the deities stay for seven days. On the ninth day of the festival, Bahuda Jatra, the grand return journey takes place. On the way back they stop for a short while and partake of 'pitha', cake made of rice, lentils, jaggery and coconut, offered by their aunt, Mausima.
The entire ‘Yatra’ was a peaceful affair amidst huge crowd of devotees. On reaching back the main temple, the deities, on their chariots, don the golden attire or the 'Suna Besha', with hands, arms and crown made of solid gold. The 'Suna Besha' will be held on Saturday.