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News: Puri Yatra

* People Defy Sultry Weather to See Puri Rath Yatra
     Puri, July 10 (PTI) Lakhs of ecstatic  devotees crammed
every inch of space on the road facing the  12 century
Jagannath temple here  to witness the famous rath  yatra (car
festival) of Lord Jagannath.
     Braving sultry weather and an overcast sky, the multitude
waited patiently on the 'badadanda', the wide avenue in front
of the  temple to catch a glimpse of the presiding deities of
the shrine---Jagannath, Balabhadra and their sister
Subhadra---who embarked upon a nine-day sojourn, an annual
feature, to the gundicha temple just down the street.
     Three colourfully decorated wooden chariots, built by the
temple carpenters, were lined up outside the lion's gate of the
shrine as security men cordoned off the area.
     The festival, celebrated on the second day of the bright
fortnight in the month of 'ashadh' as per the lunar calendar,
draws people from remote corners of the state and also from
other states  providing a melting pot for religion, culture and
     Hundreds of Sevayats, clad in 'dhotis' and 'gamuccha',
performed a series of complex rituals since early morning
commencing with  ''mangala arati'' and 'mailam' preparing the
deities for 'pahandi'.
     The 'pahandi', one of the most important parts of the
festival, involves the bringing out of the deities from their
''ratna simhasana'' and their installation atop the three
respective  chariots---''nandighosh'' of jagannath,
''taladhwaja'' of balabhadra and ''devadalan'' of subhadra.
     The pahandi began around 1000 hours but unlike the
previous year proved to be a long-drawn process spread over
five hours. the first to be brought out was 'balabhadra'
followed by 'subhadra' and  finally 'jagannath'.
     the crowd burst into chants of 'haribol' as the deities
came into view through the lion's gate. even the chief
minister, mr biju patnaik was seen in an ecstatic mood beating
a gong himself.
     for the second time in succession, the festival was
telecast nationwide live by  doordarshan.  the telecast was
also peppered with  film songs and sequences from  oriya cinema
most of which are centred around themes involving lord
     the deities would be spending nine days in the gundicha
temple before returning to their own abode in a similar
fashion. the gundicha temple, which was closed temporarily
after a huge stone slag fell from its roof recently, had
undergone repairs and a face- lift had been given to the shrine
including lighting arrangement.
     the orissa governor, mr b. satyanarayan reddy, the
meghalaya governor, mr  madhukar dighe, and members of the
orissa cabinet  besides the chief minister, mr patnaik, were
among the dignitaries who witnessed the event.

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