13 July : Millions of devotees from across the country and abroad thronged this pilgrim town on Tuesday when Lord Jagannath set off on his annual sojourn to his aunt’s house accompanied by elder brother Lord Balabhadra and sister Devi Subhadra on three majestic wooden chariots.
Special rituals like Mangla arati and Mailam were held before the deities proceeded out of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple after descending from the Ratna Sinhasana, the bejewelled throne.
The three deities were taken down the 22 steps of the temple known as ‘baisi pahacha’ through the Lion’s gate in an elaborate royal ritual called ‘Pahandi’ to the beating of gongs as devotees and sevayats jostled each other to have a closer look and to touch them.
Devotees poured into this seaside town since early morning to watch the ceremonial pulling of the huge chariots of the three deities on the ‘Bada Danda’, as the Grand Avenue is known, with security personnel deployed in strength keeping a watchful eye.
The temple was thrown open to public on 11th July for the ‘Naba Jaubana Darshan’ of the deities who remained confined to the ‘Anasara Pindi’ or recovery chamber following a ritual bath on ‘snana purnima’ on 26th June.