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Gupta Gundicha attracts devotees

Puri, Oct. 10: The Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath or the Gundicha Yatra held in Puri is celebrated in a grand manner every year.

There is also another car festival, observed in a quieter and low key manner, the Gupta Gundicha of Lord Jagannath. It is celebrated on the Puri Jagannath temple premises. The 16-day festival at the temple attracts devotees in large numbers.

The festival is observed in a traditional manner in Ashwina. Beginning from Ashwina Krishna dwitiya to the last day of Dusherra, a number of rituals are observed every day as part of the festival.

“As per ancient tradition, the idol of Madhaba, a form of Lord Jagannath, along with the idol of Goddess Durga, is taken on a tour of the temple premises. The tour within the temple is observed for the first eight days,” says Sanskrit scholar Pandit Suryanarayana Ratha Sharma.

“For the next eight days, the idols, known as Durgamadhaba, are taken outside the temple on a palanquin to the nearby Narayani Mandapa situated in the Dolamandapa lane. After their worship, they are brought back to the temple,” he adds. The trip of the deities to the Narayani temple began on Saturday and will continue till Dasami on October 17.

“Here, Durga and Vishnu are worshipped together. The festival is a form of Durga upasana,” says Pandit Ratha Sharma.

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