Puri: Incessant rainfall failed to dampen Bahuda Jatra festivities of Lord Jagannath and his siblings as thousands of devotees today thronged Odisha’s Puri town to witness the fest.
Braving the downpour, devotees congregated in the holy town since early morning to seek blessings of the deities on the chariots. Yesterday, the Bada Danda was inundated with knee-deep rain water following heavy rainfall.
The deities were today escorted in Pahandi ritual from the sanctum sanctorum of Gundicha temple and placed atop their respective chariots by the servitors.
Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb performed Chhera Pahanra on the three chariots, following which pulling of the chariots began around 1.30 pm.
Worth mentioning, Bahuda Jatra is the return journey of Lord Jagannath and his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra from Gundicha Temple to Srimandir here. The deities go to Gundicha Temple during the Ratha Jatra, which marks the journey of the Lords from the 12th-century shrine to the temple of Devi Gundicha.
On the ninth day of the festival, Bahuda Jatra, the grand return journey takes place. On the way back, the deities stop for a short while and partake of poda pitha, a type of cake made of rice, lentils, jaggery and coconut, offered by their aunt, Mausimaa.
On reaching back the Srimandir, the deities, on their chariots, don the golden attire or the Suna Besa, with hands, arms and crown made of solid gold. They are also offered sweet drinks, adhara pana, on huge cylindrical earthen pots reaching up to their lips. They are taken down from the chariots in a ritual descent to enter the temple.
The temple gate is however shut upon Lord Jagannath by his celestial consort Laxmi. Her anger, jealousy and frustration is articulated by her companions, represented by a group of servitors from inside. Another group representing Lord Jagannath respond with entreaties and endearments.
After re-enacting this drama of daily domestic tiffs of mere mortals, the celestial couple finally make up, and the temple door is opened and the deities return to their bejeweled throne, the Ratna Singhasana.