26 June 2017
Baripada: Women power was on full display here on Monday as hundreds of women devotees pulled pulling the chariot of goddess Subhadra - the sister of Lord Jagannath.
Women have the exclusive right to pull the chariot at the rath yatra at Baripada in northern Odisha.
Rath yatra is a three-day affair in Baripada. On the first day, the ritual of pahandi bije (bringing out the deities from the temple in a procession) is performed, next day the chariots of Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra are pulled, and on the third day, Lord Jagannath's chariot is chugged.
Today, hundreds of devotees pulled Lord Balabhadra's chariot up to the Mausima (Gundicha) temple, and subsequently, the women devotees pulled the chariot of Goddess Subhadra half the way. Tomorrow, the chariot of Lord Jagannath would be pulled.
Baripada has its own story associated with the yatra.
According to legend, in 1575 the king of Mayurbhanja, Baidyanath Bhanja, visited the Puri temple but was denied access. He returned and prayed to Lord Jagannath who appear in his dream, and then the king built the Baladevjew temple in Baripada and hence the chariot festival started in Baripada.
Residents of Baripada take great pride in their unique tradition and the festival there is observed with the same fervour as it is in Puri.