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Chariots At Shree Gundicha


The unique and historic Rath Jatra 2020 celebrated without the usual sea of devotees and amid tight security in view of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Holy City of Puri.

Conducting Annual Rath Jatra in less than 12 hours after the Supreme Court of India modified its earlier order to clear the decks for the Divine Sojourn was a Herculean Task.

However, all the three chariots reached the Shree Gundicha Temple, nearly three kilometers away by 5 PM on 23 June.   

District Administration in order to prevent any congregation, Curfew was imposed in the Holy City from 9 PM on Monday till 2 PM on Wednesday.

However, after chariots reached Saradha Bali, curfew has been relaxed, officials say.

1500 Police Personnel were deployed and CCTVs installed at various locations as part of the security arrangement for the Rath Jatra and all entry points to Puri were sealed.

Servitors who were part of the chariot pulling ritual, underwent mandatory COVID-19 testing on Monday night and only those whose reports came out negative were allowed to participate in the festival.

Customary rituals like 'Mangla Arati' and 'Mailam' were held before the Trinity-- Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Lord Balabhadra and their sister Devi Subhadra -- set out from the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.

Trinity along with Sudarshan were taken out of the shrine through the Lion's Gate in an elaborate royal ritual called 'Pahandi'.

In a rhythmic style, Trinity moved forward step by step amid blowing of conch shells and ringing of bells.

Shree Sudarshan, the celestial wheel of Krishna-Vishnu, was taken out and placed in the chariot of Devi Subhadra, the Darpa Dalan.

It was followed by Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and finally Lord Jagannath.

Draped in bright color clothes the 45-feet high 'Nandighosh', the chariot of Lord Jagannath, stood with 16 huge wooden wheels, while that of Lord Balabhadra's 'Taladhawaja' is 44-feet high with 14 wheels. Devi Subhadra's 'Darpadalan' is 43-feet high with 12 wheels sttod majestically at Lions' Gate.

Jagatguru Sankaracharya of Gobardhan Peeth was first to have darshan of Trinity.

Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb performed the Special 'Chhera Panhara' ritual with a golden broom ahead of the pulling of the chariots.

Chariot pulling was conducted in a hassle free manner, barring a servitor fell down from a chariot and received minor injuries.

In order to help out the servitors, who were pulling chariots in hot and humid weather, Fire Tenders were pressed into service, which were sprinkling water on them, providing some relief. 


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