**Puri**: Thousands of devotees thronged the holy city of Puri to witness ‘Niladri Bije’ (the homecoming of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra to their abode in the sanctum sanctorum) to be celebrated on Sunday night.
‘Niladri Bije’ being celebrated on Asadha Trayodashi, (13th day) is the concluding day of the grand Rath Yatra.
After the strenuous Bahuda Yatra, the deities remain in their respective chariots parked near the Singhadwara(Lions Gate).
Next day, on Ekadasi, the Holy Trinity is attired in gold ornaments in their respective chariots.
Then on Asadha Duadashi, (12th day) the deities are offered Adharapana, a refreshing drink in huge earthen containers which almost touches the lips of the deities. After the offering, the pitchers are smashed on the chariots spilling the drink on the floor.It is believed that ghostly bodies and spirits trail the Lords awaiting for this moment to get Moksha (salvation) by having the holy drink.
After the offering of Adharapana, the Holy Trinity enter the main temple in ceremonial Pahandi process amidst chanting of hymns conducted by Daitapatis (servitors).
Legend has it that Lord Jagannath offers the mouth watering sweet Rasgulla to Goddess Laxmi to enter in the main temple.
Rasgulla has always been a matter of discussion with regards to its origin. Since ages, this sweet has always been associated with Jagannath temple, Puri.
Locals are celebrating ‘Rasgulla Diwas’ today, celebrating the tradition of Rasgulla offering to the deities.
Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra are taken to the sanctum sanctorum without any impediments, whereas the entry of Lord Jagannath is met with many pleasant hurdles. At the behest of Goddess Laxmi, devadasis close the main entrance for a spell. They close theJaya Vijaya Dwara ( door of the sanctum sanctorum), engaging in a pleasant repartee with the Daitapatis.
After that,Lord Jagannath is made to sit beside Goddess Laxmi where a ritual of reunion is rehearsed and finally Lord Jagannath goes to the Ratna Singhasan (gem studded altar) to join his brother Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra.