Puri: The Bahuda Yatra – return car festival – of Lord Jagannath and his siblings was organised here Wednesday in the absence of devotees, and amid tight security and curfew. The Holy City was virtually shutdown to prevent gatherings in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As the divine siblings – Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Lord Balabhadra and their sister Devi Subhadra – embarked on their return journey to reach the Lions’ Gate of Srimandir, the administration appealed people to stay home and watch the rituals on TV. The three deities ended their annual nine-day sojourn to Srigundicha by riding their respective chariots.
SJTA sources said the Mangal Alati ritual of the deities was performed at the Adapa Mandap of Srigundicha temple at 3.50 am Wednesday. Lord Sudarshan, the holy weapon of Lord Jagannath, was the first to reach the chariot through Pahandi, followed by Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra. Lord Jagannath was the last to ascend his chariot.
“All the deities were placed on their respective chariots through Pahandi procession by 9.55 am. Gajapati king Dibyasingha Deb performed the Chhera Pahanra ritual with a golden broom at 10.25 am. The pulling of chariots began at 11.25 am, at least 35 minute ahead of the schedule,” said a Srimandir servitor.