Rath Yatra: Lord Jagannath, siblings ascend chariots after ‘Pahandi’ ritual

PURI (Odisha), July 7: Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra ascended their respective chariots after the completion of the three-hour-long ‘Pahandi’ ritual at Puri’s Jagannath temple on Sunday.
Amid ‘Jai Jagannath’ chants, sounds of gongs, conches and cymbals reverberated through the air at Lion’s Gate of the Puri temple as Lord Sudarshan was first escorted to Darpadalan, the chariot of Devi Subhadra, as ‘Pahandi’ began around 11.15 am.
Following Lord Sudarshan, Lord Balabhadra was taken to his Taladhwaja chariot. Goddess Subhadra, the sister of Lord Jagannath and Lord Balabhadra, was brought to her Darpadalan chariot in a special procession by servitors.
Finally, Lord Jagannath was taken to the Nandighosa chariot in a ceremonial procession amid the sounds of gongs.
The ‘Pahandi’ ritual, in which the deities are brought from the temple to the chariots, was completed around 2.15 pm.
Descending from the ‘Ratna Sinhasana’, the bejewelled throne, the three deities were taken out of the temple down the 22 steps known as ‘Baisi Pahacha’ through the Lion’s Gate.
Several rituals like ‘Mangla Arati’ and ‘Mailam’ were held before the presiding deities set out from the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.
The three majestic chariots with the deities inside now stand tall in front of the Singha Dwar of the temple facing east towards the Gundicha temple.
After completion of the Pahandi ritual, Puri Shankaracharya Nischalananda Saraswati will pay obeisance to the holy trinity on their chariots. Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan and several state ministers paid a visit to the Shankaracharya.
“On the occasion of Lord Jagannath’s Rath Yatra, I have come here as have lakhs of other devotees. I got the opportunity to meet Puri Shankaracharya. I am delighted to get guidance from the Puri seer along with blessings of Lord Jagannath,” Pradhan told reporters.
Chief Minister Mohan Charan Majhi reached Badadanda, while President Droupadi Murmu is also expected to arrive at the Grand Road outside the temple around 4.40 pm.
As per schedule, Chherapahanra of the chariots by Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb would be performed by 4 pm. After fixing wooden horses to the chariots, the pulling is scheduled to start from 5 pm.
Lord Balabhadra would lead the chariot procession riding Taladhwaja. It will be followed by Devi Subhadra in Darpadalana. Lord Jagannath would go riding Nandighosa at the end.
Despite the heat and humidity, lakhs of devotees congregated at Badadanda here to take part in Rath Yatra.
The entire stretch of the Grand Road transformed into an ocean of humanity against the backdrop of three colourful chariots and the decorated temple.
Special arrangements have been made as the President will witness the Rath Yatra, which will be a two-day affair after 53 years. (PTI)

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