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Holiday high at aunt’s abode

Security guards take the chariots for dakshina moda, a ceremony in which they are turned southwards for their return journey, in Puri. Picture by Sarat Patra.

Bhubaneswar, June 26: Dakshina moda and rasalila rituals today pulled devotees in thousands to the Gundicha temple, where the divine siblings — Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra — are enjoying their vacation during the ongoing rath yatra.

The sixth day of the festival saw all the three chariots being turned southwards, a ceremony known as dakshina moda.

“When the deities reach Gundicha temple from Jagannath temple, the chariots face their aunt’s temple outside which they are parked. But on the auspicious day following Hera Panchami, the chariots are turned to face south and parked in front of Nakachana Dwar, the exit gate of Gundicha temple,” said Surya Narayan Rath Sharma, a Jagannath culture expert.

Servitors in the presence of the temple administration carried out the dakshina moda rituals when Nandighosha (Lord Jagannath’s chariot), Debadalana (Goddess Subhadra’s chariot) and Taladhwaja (Lord Balabhadra’s chariot) were readied for the upcoming bahuda yatra.

“According to legend, during dakshina moda, Bibhisan, Ravan’s brother, caught a glimpse the Lord from faraway Lanka.

“There is also a belief that people who get a darshan of the dakshina moda are sure to attain salvation,” added Rath Sharma.

Apart from dakshina moda, the other festivity that was observed today was the beginning of the three-day rasalila of Lord Jagannath.

The idol of Lord Jagannath is escorted to rasa mandap in Gundicha temple where hymns from Gita Govinda and ancient couplets are sung in praise of the Lord.

“Jagannath temple is the Lord’s permanent abode, but when he is out on vacation at Gundicha temple, he enjoys himself just as we humans do. During rasalila, the interaction between Krishna and the gopis is enacted through hymns.

“These were earlier sung by Devadasis, but now servitors have taken over. It is a spiritual festival that takes place during the last three days of rath yatra here,” said Rath Sharma.

Before returning to Jagannath temple, the deities will give devotees their last darshan on June 28 at the Adapa mandap in Gundicha temple, where they are now.