BY: SUN STAFF
Jul 8, PURI, ORISSA (SUN) Their Lordships Return to Their Abode.
Following their nine-day yearly sojourn out into public, giving darshans to lakhs of devotees from around the world, Their Lordships Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Lady Subhadra returned home today. This annual return journey of the presiding Deities of Puri temple is popularly known as ‘Bahuda Yatra’.
The Deities had been residing at their temporary residence at Sri Gundicha temple, having been delivered there on the glorious Jagannatha Rath Yatra, or car festival.
The Bahuda Yatra begins with the traditional Pahandi Bije, the ceremony of installing the Deities in their respective chariots. This is followed by another ritual, Chera Panhura, the traditional sweeping of the chariots with a golden broom. This year, the personalities who led the ceremony were Gajapati Maharaja of Puri and Divya Singh Dev.
Following these ceremonies, the devotees began to pull the three chariots back towards Srimandira at Puri. This year, the chariots could not reach their home destination within the scheduled time, so the devotees will pull the chariots the remaining distance on Sunday.
Upon arriving back at the Puri temple, the Deities will remain installed on the three chariots until their Suna Vesha, dressing up in golden robes, which takes place on Monday.
More than 1,000 devotees thronged around the ISKCON temple to watch the Deities return. The women pulled Subhara devi’s chariot along, as is the tradition. All along the way, prasadam was served to the onlookers.
Hundreds of people also took part in Bahuda Yatra festivities at Chandrasekharpur and the Unit VIII Jagannath temple.
Like last year, this year’s Ratha Yatra and Bahuda Yatra featured a visible security presence. The Orissa police had 61 platoons of armed police on duty for the Ratha, with 250 additional police officials on hand, including 80 women specially trained in tackling terrorist attacks.