Puri: After the ritualistic ‘Pahandi Bije’, ‘Chhera Pahanra’ and other rituals, the three majestic wooden chariots carrying Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra started rolling on the grand road of Puri.
Following the pre-ride rituals, three wooden charioteers were fastened onto each chariot (known as Sarathi Lagi) after which the impromptu wooden stairs to the chariots were taken out (known as Charamala Phita). Then four wooden horses were yoked to each chariot and the pulling of the chariots marked the start of the journey.
As per tradition, the first chariot which moves is Taldwaja, the chariot of Lord Balabhadra. Then Darpadalana, the chariot of Goddess Subhadra and last comes Nandighosa, the chariot of Lord Jagannath.
Lakhs of devotees, men and women, young and old irrespective of caste, creed and nationality try to touch the holy coir ropes of the chariots and pull along the 3 km long Bada Danda (Grand Road). The annual Rath Yatra is being held in the presence of devotees after two years in view of the COVID-19 situation.