Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra begins
BHUBANESWAR: For the first time in its history, the famous Rath Yatra of the Jagannath temple in Puri, Odisha, began on Tuesday morning with priests pulling the three colourful chariots of the presiding deities in the absence of the tens of thousands of devotees who typically throng the town every year for the annul event.
Around 1,500 priests of the iconic 12th century temple milled around the wooden chariots which they started pulling from the main temple to the Gundicha temple amid the beating of cymbals and drums in praise of the Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra.
The pulling of the chariots during
Nandighosh, Taladwaja and Darpadalana - is the foremost ritual of the festival. It was performed by the priests who had been tested for Covid-19 on Monday.The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the conduct of the Rawth Yatra, recalling its June 18 order that prohibited the event, but laid down strict conditions, including a ban on pubic attendance and the imposition of a curfew in Puri the festivities.
The erstwhile King of Puri, Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb, who is also the first servitor of the Lord, performed the Chhera Panhara, a ritual sweeping of the chariots, before they were pulled by the priests. “It’s hard to imagine Rath Yatra without devotees on Badadanda (Grand Road). But Lord Jagannath stepped out of temple for the whole universe.” Puri Govardhan Peeth Shankaracharya Nischalananda Saraswati paid obeisance atop the chariots along with his disciples.
Until Monday afternoon, uncertainity clouded the Rath Yatra as a three-judge bench of SC led by chief justice SA Bobde heard dozens of intervention petitions seeking recall of the court’s June 18 order.
The chariots of the Hindu deities Balabhadra, Subhadra and Jagannath before they move towards the Gundicha temple during the annual Rath Yatra in Puri on Tuesday ARABINDA MAHAPATRA /HT PHOTO