Bhubaneswar, Feb 5 :
Priests performed purification rituals of three wooden logs as they began preparations to construct chariots for the annual rath yatra festival of Lord Jagannath June 29, an official said Wednesday.
The rituals were performed Tuesday evening in front of the Jagannath temple, about 56 km from here, temple public relations officer Laxmidhar Pujapanda told IANS.
Every year, priests perform this ritual on Basant Panchami – the fifth day of the Hindu month of Magh that also marks the beginning of spring.
Pujapanda said the forest department has already supplied 74 large wooden logs and three of them were placed in front of the temple and worshipped as part of the tradition.
A total of 865 wooden logs are required for the construction of chariots this year. While 253 wooden logs received last year would be used, the remaining would be supplied by the forest department in a few days, he said.
The construction the chariots will start on Akshaya Trutiya – the third day of the bright half of the lunar Vaisakha month in the Hindu calendar.
Every year, Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra are taken out of the 12th century Jagannath temple in chariots to another shrine in the same town called Gundicha temple.
Thousands of devotees pull these chariots with the help of four ropes tied to each chariot.
The chariot of Lord Jagannath is known as Nandighosh that of Balabhadra as Taladhwaja and Subhadra’s as Padmadhwaja.
About a hundred traditional carpenters will be engaged this year to build the three chariots.