Puri: A stampede like situation was created in front of the Shree Jagannath Temple here Friday as a large number of people gathered there to witness a ritual in which the sibling deities are decked in gold jewellery on the occasion of Dola Purnima.
The incident occurred when the huge crowd gathered before the Lion’s Gate attempted to barge into the 12th-century shrine after breaking barricades to have a glimpse of the deities – Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath – in “Suna Besha” (golden attire), officials said.
The deities were decked in gold jewellery embellished with diamond and gems taken out from the temple treasury.
The crowd was later properly managed and none has suffered any injury though some women had fallen down on the ground, a senior official of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) said.
“We were not expecting such a huge turnout of devotees. Many devotees came to the temple to witness the Suna Besha as they were denied the opportunity for two years due to Covid-19 restrictions. The people including women broke the barricade and attempted to enter into the temple after pushing us down,” a police official said.
The devotees might have got impatient because of the hot and humid weather in the town while the shed provided by the administration was not enough to give respite to that huge crowd.
The deities adorn golden attire on five occasions a year and Dola Purnima is one of them. The other days are: ‘Ratha Jatra’ (July), ‘Dusshera’ (October), ‘Panchuka’ in the month of Kartik (November) and ‘Pusha Purnima’ (December).
Earlier in the day, Lord Jagannath was worshipped as “Dola Govinda” during Dola Purnima and Lord Govinda (Narayana) with Goddess Sridevi (Lakshmi) are placed on the ‘Dola Bedi (pedestal) to play Holi with the devotees.
On the occasion of “Dola Jatra”, a six-day festival is held, which begins from the Falguna Dasami. While special rituals are held in the Shree Jagannath Temple, the idol of deities, especially of Lord Krishna, is carried to all houses in villages on a decorated “Veemana” (palanquin).
The people carrying the idols and those following them are smeared with ‘Abira’ (dry colour). The procession halts in front of each household and the deity is offered fruits and sweetmeats.
Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wished the people on the occasion.
Patnaik tweeted: “May the abundant grace and blessings of Lord Dola Gobinda fill the lives of all with happiness and prosperity.”