| A servitor carries rasagollas for Lord Jagannath to offer to Goddess Lakshmi in an attempt to placate her and be allowed into the Jagannath temple in Puri. The ritual is part of niladri bije, which marks the end of rath yatra. Picture by Sarat Patra |
Puri, July 2: Sobhana Das, 57, a resident of Nayapalli in the capital city, is eager to witness how the symbolic ritual of Goddess Lakshmi’s refusal to open the doors of the 12th century temple here to let in Lord Jagannath, Her husband, is performed.
The goddess has been upset over the Lord’s leaving for the abode of His aunt, Sri Gundicha, on the rath yatra day for a nine-day sojourn without her.
“It is great to see how at midnight Lord Jagannath tries to mollify His wife by offering her rasagollas, so that she lets Him enter the temple with His siblings.
The holy trinity — Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra — are set to return to the Jagannath temple here after completing the sojourn.
The return ritual of the trinity is known as niladri bije. Though the chariots reached the temple gate on June 29, the deities will make a formal entry tonight. The deities have been giving darshan to the devotees on their chariots for the past three days.
As the niladri bije rituals commenced, devotees started jostling for a glimpse of the deities. “I missed the opportunity to see rath yatra this year. However, today, I want to make up the loss by watching the entire return journey of the deities,” said 61-year-old Sridhar Das, Sobhana’s husband, who is a former government official.
Braving rain, thousands of devotees thronged Puri to witness the sight of the deities sitting all decked up on their chariots near the Lion’s Gate of the Sri Jagannath temple. The devotees, who were in no mood to miss the opportunity, queued up on the chariots and then for entry to the temple to be a part of the deities’ pahandi (ceremonial procession) into the shrine to be reinstalled on their ratna singhasan (bejewelled throne). The servitors are preparing for the ceremony.
In another development in Bhubaneswar, law minister Bikram Keshari Arukh held a meeting to achieve a breakthrough in the contentious issue of the “Paramanik ticket”.
Earlier, the devotees were allowed to the sanctum sanctorum by buying a special ticket, but now the temple administration has imposed a restriction on the entry.
The servitors are opposing the decision. Temple chief administrator Aurobind Padhee said: “The law minister and chief secretary will brief the chief minister on the issue. Whatever decision will be taken, the temple administration will abide by it.”