**Puri:** The much-awaited Bahuda Yatra, that marks the end of the nine-day sojourn of the deities in the Gundicha Temple as well as their homecoming to Sri Mandir, was witnessed by lakhs of devotees from both inland and abroad in the pilgrim city on Thursday.
Bahuda Yatra, unlike the Rath Yatra this time, marked timely solemnisation of the mandatory rituals of the deities.
One of the important rituals ‘Pahandi Bije’ (ceremonial procession) of the deities were conducted as per time schedule.
Initially, Lord Sudarshan (pilot god of the Lords) was taken out of the Gundicha Temple and was settled on the Debadalan/Darpadalan, the chariot earmarked for Devi Subhadra.
This was followed by the ‘Pahandi’ of eldest brother Lord Balabhadra onto His chariot Taladhwaja and accordingly, the same ritual of sister Devi Subhadra and the darling of the crowd Lord Jagannath was carried out astutely and were settled on their respective pious podiums of Debadalan and Nandighosha chariots.
The unique and most important ritual of ‘Chhera Pahanra’ (cleansing and sweeping of the chariots) by Gajapati Maharaj Dibya Singhdev was also solemnised on time as per the schedule. The ritual on the three chariots in turn was completed by 2.45 pm and Gajapati went back to his Sri Naar (royal palace) seated in his customary ‘Tamjan’ (precious palanquin).
The preparations for the dragging of the chariots then gained momentum.
The pulling of the chariot was also on time as the Taladhwaja Rath of Lord Balabhadra got rolling around 2.55 pm.
As per tradition, this chariot moves first followed by Devadalan of Devi Subhadra and at last of Lord Jagannath.
Now all are agog and all eyes are on the other two important rituals of ‘Suna Besha’ & ‘Adhar Pana’ that will follow suit the following days on the chariots itself before the Singhadwara (Lions Gate) of Sri Mandir before the deities are back to the sanctum sanctorum of their sacred abode.