Puri: The Maharana (carpenter) servitors of Srimandir usually follow a set of norms laid down by the sculptural scriptures and religious texts to construct the three chariots for annual Rath Yatra.
The servitors install several subsidiary deities (Parshwa Devatas) on the chariots at least two days prior to the car festival.
“The chariots constructed for Rath Yatra in Puri are unique in India. Altogether 27 subsidiary deities are installed on the three chariots. Each chariot gets nine such deities. It is believed that the subsidiary deities guard the three chariots during Rath Yatra,” said researcher Naresh Chandra Das.
As per Srimandir traditions, carpenters construct new chariots for every year’s Rath Yatra. But, they customarily shape the idols of the subsidiary deities afresh only during the Nabakalebara ritual of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra.
“Servitors construct new idols of Srimandir presiding deities and bury the existing idols during Nabakalebara. They also construct the idols of subsidiary deities of three chariots during the mega event. Woods from neem trees are used for construction of the idols. The Rupakara (painter) servitors of Srimandir only repair and decorate the idols of subsidiary deities prior to the annual Rath Yatra,” Das said.
Subsidiary deities—Harihara, Pandu Nrusingha, Girigobardhandhari, Ravana Chhatrabhanga, Chintamani Krushna, Narayana, Madhusudana, Laxman and Panchamukhi Hanuman—are installed on the Nandighosa chariot of Lord Jagannath.
Similarly, idols of subsidiary deities like Pralambari Mahadev, Baisibhuja, Nrusingha, Balarama, Natabara Ganesh, Angada, Natambara, Sadanana Kartikeswar, Madhu Kaitabha and Ananta Basudev are installed on the Taladhwaja chariot of Lord Balabhadra, Das said.
On the other hand, Devi Subhadra’s Darpadalan chariot is adorned with idols of Bimala, Mangala, Barahi, Bhadrakali, Uma, Katyayani, Harachandi, Ramachandi and Aghora, Das added.