Puri Deities Ready for Return Journey



Devotees queuing up at Gundicha Temple 

A sea of humanity turned up in Puri on Sunday to catch a last glimpse of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra at Gundicha Temple, as the sibling Deities will traverse towards Jagannath Temple on Monday, marking Bahuda Yatra (return car festival).

The Deities will enter the sanctum sanctorum in Jagannath Temple on July 6 after completion of two vital rituals—Suna Besha and Adharapanda Niti—on Their chariots in front of the 12th Century shrine on July 4 and 5, respectively.

Considering the heavy footfall of pilgrims on Monday, police said they would retain the same security arrangements as used on June 25 Rath Yatra. As many as 125 platoons of police force will be deployed for smooth conduct of Bahuda. "We have not left anything to chance. Like smooth crowd control on Rath Yatra day, we will adopt the same mechanism on Monday," said Director General of Police Kunwar Brajesh Singh.

The Deities will set out on the homeward journey on Their respective chariots from Gundicha Temple to Jagannath Temple between 3 pm and 4 pm. Carpenters and engineers inspected the condition of all the chariots on Sunday. Three days before Rath Yatra, an axle of Subhadra's chariot had broken, promoting the administration to inspect nuts and bolts on each chariot to avoid any untoward incident.

Chariots in front of Gundicha Temple 

Jagannath Temple's Chief Administrator, Pradeep Kumar Jena said the servitors have been urged to complete the rituals on time so that the chariot pulling exercise starts early. Delay in rituals on the day of Rath Yatra had resulted in chariots reaching Gundicha Temple the next day. "We hope all the chariots reach safely in front of Jagannath Temple by Monday evening. Servitors assured us of all cooperation for smooth and early completion of rituals," Jena said.

Jena said special squads have been formed to prevent people from mounting the chariots. "On the Rath Yatra day, we caught around 40 people, who attempted to climb the chariots in the guise of servitors. Only on-duty servitors are allowed to remain present on the chariots," Jena said.

To regulate traffic, the police claim to have made parking arrangements at different places. Every year pilgrims go through harrowing experiences due to traffic mismanagement. "We have identified several parking places in and around the town. Heavy vehicles would not be allowed to enter the town," said a police official.

A sea of devotees