first_imgLakhs of devotees from across the country and abroad witnessed Lord Jagannath’s ‘Bahuda Yatra’ — the return car festival — which was held in this seaside pilgrim town amid tight security on Sunday.The three deities — Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Lord Balabhadra and their sister Devi Subhadra — ended their annual nine-day sojourn to Sri Gundicha Temple, their birth place, and returned to Sreemandir or Shri Jagannath Temple on three majestic wooden chariots during the ‘Bahuda Yatra’Special rituals Special rituals were performed before the deities were taken out of the Sri Gundicha Temple and placed on the three colourfully decorated chariots for the return journey, amid chants of ‘Jai Jagannath’ and ‘Hari Bol’The deities were taken to their chariots in an elaborate ritual called ‘Pahandi’ to the beating of gongs, cymbals and blowing of conch shells.Lord Jagannath was ensconced in the largest of the three chariots — the 45-foot-high ‘Nandighosh’, Balabhadra in 44-foot-high ‘Taladhwaja’ and Subhadra in 43-foot- high ’Darpadalan’Gajapati Maharaja of Puri Dibyasingha Deb performed the ‘Chhera Pahanra’ ritual. He offered prayers to the deities and then swept the platforms of the chariots with a golden broom and sprinkled flowers and fragrant water.The chariots were then pulled by devotees amid gaiety and devotion on ‘Bada Danda’ — the grand avenue leading to Shri Jagannath Temple – up to the Lion’s Gate in front of the Jagannath Temple, where they would be stationed till July 25.The deities, who had embarked on the nine-day sojourn to the Sri Gundicha Temple during the Rath Yatra on July 14, would finally re-enter the 12th century shrine and again be placed on the ‘Ratna Simhasana’, the bejewelled throne, following a ceremony called ‘Neeladribije’Ahead of ‘Neeladribije’, the deities would be decorated with ‘suna besha’ or golden attire, on Monday on their chariots, which attracts a large number of devotees.Over 3,000 police personnel were deployed in the pilgrim town besides Central para-military forces to ensure smooth celebrations of the ‘Bahuda Yatra’, a senior police officer said.A large number of CCTVs were also installed on ‘Bada Danda’, he said.last_img