Puri: The nine day long grand spectacle of the annual Rath Yatra started today with sea of humanity pulling majestic chariots of Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Lord Balabhadra and sister Subhadra. People from across the country and abroad descended on the pilgrim town Puri to have a glimpse of the presiding deities of the Sri Jagannath temple.
By the evening three chariots reached Saradhabali, from where three deities will go to Gundicha temple through Goti Pahandi (where the deities go to the temple one after another). The spectacular event is called Adap Mandap Bije.
Talodhwaja, chariot of lord Balabhadra reached Saradhabali around 5.30 in the evening. Then Darpadalan of Devi Subhadra followed by Nadighosh of Jagannath around a hour late.
In the Morning the ceremonial procession of deities know as Pahandi, where the deities were carried out from Ratna Sinhasan to their respective chariots started at 8.50 Am. At first Sudarshan was taken out and placed in the chariot of Subhadra. It was followed by devi Subhadra, Balabhadra and finally Jagannath.
Dibya Singh Dev, the Gajapti of Orissa arrived in a silver plated palanquin to perform Chhera Pahanra (sweeping) in three chariots. After offering prayers to the deity, the King swept the platforms with a golden broom and sprinkled flowers and fragrant water on the
However, during the event a devotee died of heart attack, police said. "A man identified as Sudhakar Swain, an elderly person from Jagatsinghpur district, died of heart attack," a police officer said. Some people claimed the death was due to a stampede-like situation,
but doctors and the police ruled out that possibility. The proceedings were watched by millions, including Governor M C Bhandare and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, his cabinet colleagues while buildings on both sides of the Grand Avenue were occupied by
thousands of people vying for a proper view. After a stay for seven days, the deities will return to their abode.