04 July 2019
Bhubaneswar: The day is finally here for the grandest celebration in Odisha. The annual sojourn of Lords Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra ‘Rath Yatra’ is celebrated every year in the coastal town of Puri as the Holy Trinity sets out from the sanctum sanctorum of the temple to the Gundicha Temple.
Thousands of devotees from across the country and abroad flocked on this seaside pilgrim town to have a glimpse of the presiding deities of the 12th century shrine as they mingled with the sea of humanity during the annual festival of chariots.
8:30 am- ‘Pahandi’ rituals begin. Lord Sudarshan brought out of sanctum sanctorum first followed by Lord Balabhadra amid loud chants and beats of cymbals and gongs.
9:15 am- Pahandi of Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath begins.
11:30 am- Pahandi rituals end. All three deities settle in their respective chariots.
12:20 pm- Jagatguru Puri Shankaracharya Nischilanada Saraswati along with his ace disciples pay obeisance to the deities on their respective chariots.
1 pm- ‘Chhera Pahanra’ ritual- The Puri king ‘Gajapati,’ or the principal servitor (Adhyasevak) swept the chariots with a broom having a gold handle. This ritual of sweeping, cleansing & sanctifying the Raths by the 'Gajapati' signifies dignity of labour.
2:15 pm- Pulling of chariots begins. The wood plank-laden staircase (‘Charamala’) of all three chariots were dismantled, horses were yoked to all three chariots and devotees pulled the juggernauts amid religious fervor.