Over eight lakh devotees participated in the Wednesday Rath Yatra of the Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra. Grand festival of chariots began with traditional fervor on the Wednesday. The holy Trinity were on a nine day sojourn to their aunts house sri Gundicha temple riding three huge rathas along the three kms long Badadanda.
Though all the nitees were performed as per the time fixed by the temple administration the there was inordinate delay in pulling of the rathas. While the pulling time was fixed for 3.30 pm it actually began by 4.35. As a result no ratha was able to reach its destination Gundicha temple. By the time pulling was stopped thre rathas were on the way. While the Balabadra rath was at Mausima temple Subhadra rath was near Bagala Dharmshalla and Jagannath rath Nandighosh was near the palace of the Puri king. The pulling would resume on the Thursday. Ramchandra Dasmahapatra a senior Daitapati said it happened after a decade that no rath reached destination even though the nitees were completed on time.
Earlier on the Tuesday night Daita servitors worked late in the night to prepare the deities for the journey by performing “ Chhenapattalaagi” (fixing a body armour to the body of the deities so that they could bear the stress during the pahandi. Pahandi began by 9.15 am and was completed by about 2pm. Devotees waiting to witness Pahandi jostled among them selves to have glimpse of the pahandi. Deities came out of the temple one after another with lord Balabhadra first followed by sister Subhadra and in the end came lord of the universe Jagannath. Giant floral tiaras formed head gears of the deities.
Typical swinging of the tiaras to the tune of cymbals, mrudangas, drums, bugles and blowing of conch, besides artists dancing Odissi and display of martial arts and Banati was spectacular to look. As soon as deities came out of the temple main gate “Simhadwar “Haribol, Jai Jagannath and religious hymns rented the cloudy air. The servitors installed deities in their respective rathas. Sankaracharya of Puri Gobardhan peeth swamy Neeschaanda Saraswati went upto the rathas and offered prayers. Gajapati Dibyasingh Dev came in a colourful palanquin from his palace and performed “chherapahanra” (sweeping of the rathas with a gold broom) on three rathas which was
over by 4.20 pm.
The servitors then dismantled the ladders and fixed the wooden horses to the rathas. At 4.35 pm Taldhwaja rath of lord Balabhadra was rolled out followed by Darpadalan of Subhadra at 5.20 pm and Nandighosh of Lord Jagannath was pulled at 5.40 pm. Sky is thick overcast and with a high humidity scores of devotees fell unconscious and were being treated in health care facilities. By the time of pulling of Nandighosh of lord Jagannath it rained. One Manoj
Pattnaik 50 of Puri ram mandir area was found lying dead on the Badadanda. He was taken to DHH. Police registered a ud case and sent the body for post mortem.
An elaborate security arrangement was made to ensure safe and smooth conduct of the fete. DGP KB Singh is supervising the security while top officers were manning various sectors of security zones. Chief minister Naveen Patnaik, state governor S C Jameer, chief justice of the state high court Vineet Saran and supreme court justice Amitav Roy besides a number of justices of neighbouring states were present besides ministers Arun Sahu, Pradip Maharathy, Pranab Prakash Das, Sanjay Dasburma, local parliament member Pinaki Mishra
and local legislator Maheswar Mohanty.