|Gundicha temple, where the chariots failed to reach on Thursday.
The nine-day sojourn of Lord Jagannath and his siblings to their aunt’s house — the Gundicha temple —began with the deities’ journey to their destination on rath yatra. The temple is all set to welcome the deities and a large number of devotees have made special arrangements for a comfortable stay of the siblings.
The Gundicha temple premises were cleaned and washed by a group of devotees who opted for the seva, while its entrance was swept by local residents and tourists from foreign countries on the rath yatra eve.
The sevayats of the temple also said that the Ratnasinghasan or throne in the sanctum had been decorated especially for the visiting deities who would be worshiped here for nine days.
“After the snan purnima, the deities are kept in Anasaraghara or the secret place in the temple, completely away from public view. But when the lords are ferried to the Gundicha temple, the desire to see the Lord after a long time is incomparable,” said Harihar Panda, a local resident. “Thus we are making arrangements for the lords to have a comfortable stay here,” he said.
For the rest of the year, the Gundicha temple becomes a tourist destination. People can visit the temple by buying a ticket of Rs 3 and even the foreigners are allowed to enter the temple up to main entrance.
“The lords come to us once a year. We wait for these nine days for more than 350 odd days of the year. During the remaining time of the year we have to go to the Jagannath temple to pay a visit,” said Binod Mohanty, a local resident near the Gundicha temple.
“The Gundicha temple turns into a spiritual hub and transforms into a happening place
during the stay of the deities. The darshan or view here is different but special as compared
to the darshan we get at the Sree Mandir,” said Mohanty.
Legend has it that Gundicha temple was built in memory of the queen Gundicha, the wife of mythological character king Indradyumna who is believed to have conceptualised the Jagannath temple. The deities visit the Gundicha temple to fulfil a wish of the queen to allow her to serve them at least once every year, said Surya Narayan Rath Sharma, Jagannath culture expert.
The three deities, Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra will spend their nine-day vacation at the Gundicha temple until Bahuda yatra that will be observed on June 29.