Puri: Heavy rainfall over the last 24 hours brought normal life to a grinding halt across Odisha and triggered flash flood in several parts.Braving this early morning rain on Sunday, lakhs of devotees from across the country and abroad have started to converge on Puri to witness the ‘Bahuda Yatra’ the homecoming of the Holy Trinity from Gundicha Temple to Srimandir on their chariots today.
According to mythology, on this auspicious day the three sibling deities – Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Lord Balabhadra and their sister Devi Subhadra wrap up their annual nine-day sojourn to Sri Gundicha Temple, their birth place and return to Srimandir riding their three majestic wooden chariots.Several rituals will be performed today before the deities are taken out of the Gundicha temple and placed on the three chariots for the return journey. The divine siblings will be taken to their chariots in an elaborate ritual called ‘Pahandi’ to the beating of gongs, cymbals and blowing of conch shells.
Later, Puri Gajapati Maharaj Dibyasingha Deb would perform the ‘Chhera Panhara’ rituals where he will be offering prayers to the deities and then sweep the the chariots with a golden broom and sprinkle flowers and fragrant water. The giant chariots will then be pulled by the devotees on Bada Danda, the grand avenue leading to the Sri Jagannath temple up to the Lion’s gate (Singhadwara) in front of it where they would be stationed till July 25.
As per the ritual timings declared by the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), the Senapata ritual will be performed till 11 am and Bahuda Pahandi from 12 am till 2.30 pm. The Puri Gajapati will perform the Chhera Panhara rituals from 2.30 pm till 3.30 pm followed by loosening of Charamala.
As per earlier report, Bahuda Yatra, the return car festival of Lord Jagannath, the Bada Danda (Grand Road) on which the chariots will roll was completely submerged under knee-deep water leaving the devotees who thronged the pilgrim city in a lurch.
Meanwhile, major parts of Odisha- Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri itself experienced unprecedented water-logging causing acute misery to the people.With Met Department predicting heavy to very heavy spell of rain for another 48 hours, the situation is expected to turn more serious.
Keeping this in view, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who convened a review meeting at Secretariat, asked all officials concerned to open 24-hour control rooms at district level and keep an eye on the situation. The State Government has cancelled Sunday holiday for all its employees.