Rain pours on chariot path

Puri: Braving heavy rain that have been lashing this pilgrim city since Saturday, thousands of pilgrims reached here on Sunday morning to pull Nandighosh, the chariot of Lord Jagannath that had halted at Balagandi Chhak on Saturday unlike the mounts of Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra that had made it to the Sri Gundicha temple.

Incessant rain has been lashing the city since Saturday following the formation of a low-pressure over the Bay of Bengal.

The administration had to chop off a roadside tree at Balagandi to facilitate the pulling of Lord Jagannath's chariot on Sunday. The tree came in its way as the chariot had deviated from its path on Saturday.

The devotional fervour notwithstanding, pulling of Nandigosh was not an easy task as Bada Danda or Grand Road was submerged in knee-deep water that flowed out from nearby drains following heavy rain over the last 24 hours.

Once the Nandighosh reached its destination, the Gundicha temple devotees started crowding around it. Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra will be taken to the adap mandap inside the Gundicha temple on Monday. They will remain seated on their mounts on Sunday night.

Senior servitor Ramakrushna Dasmohapatra said: "According to the scheduled programme, the deities will be taken to the Gundicha temple in a pahandi (ritual procession) from 4pm onwards. They will return to the main shrine on July 22 in an event known as bahuda yatra."

This time the pulling of chariots was done in an organised way. "Following Supreme Court's directions to the administration to implement its various orders, the servitors were more careful this time. Even the rituals of the rath yatra was held in time due to the cooperation from the administration," said a senior official of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA).

The SJTA has said that it would examine how servitors on Saturday tore off the 'tahia', the ornamental headgear of Lord Jagannath. The tahia is made of bamboo, cane, banana stem, sola, zari and other colourful materials.

"We will try to identify people who indulged in such acts," said SJTA administrator Pradeep Das.

Inspector General of Police, Soumendra Priyadarshi said: "Moved by devotion some devotees, servitors as well as police personnel had tried to collect parts of the tahia. But there was no serious disruption. Everything passed off peacefully."

Elsewhere in the state, rath yatra was celebrated with usual fervour. In Kendrapara, the chariot of Lord Jagannath's elder brother Lord Baldevjew rolled out on Sunday in keeping with the tradition of observing the festival a day later.


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