Puri: Amidst tight security cover, lakhs of devotees from across the country have started thronging this pilgrim city to witness the nine-day sojourn of Lord Jagannath, Lord
Balavadra and Devi Subhadra, which commenced here this morning as chants of 'haribol' and clanging of cymbals rented the air.
Early this morning devotees converged at the three-km long ''bada danda''(grand road) from the Lions Gate of the 12th century edifice to the Gundicha temple to witness the grand annual world famous car festival.
Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Lord Balavadra and sister Devi Subhadra were offered ''gopal bhog'' (breakfast) after necessary rituals before being taken out from the ''Ratnavedi'' of the sanctum sanctorum in a ceremonial 'pahandi bije' to their respective well-decorated chariots parked outside the lions gate of the temple.
The temple servitors took the deities on their shoulders from the temple amidst blowing of conch shells and chanting of haribol through Ananda Bazar and the ''Baishi Pahacha'' to the Lions Gate under tight security.
The chariots - the red and yellow ''Nandighosha'' of Lord Jagannath with 16 wheels, red and green ''Taladhwaja'' of Balabhadra with 14 wheels and red and black ''Devadalana'' of Devi Subhadra - with a dozen wheels were lined up outside the temple near the Lions Gate.
As per rituals, Lord Balavadra was first taken out of the 'ratna vedi' and installed in the chariot called 'Taladhawaja' through the ceremonial 'pahandi bije', followed by Devi Subhadra to the
'Darpadalan Chariot' and lastly Lord Jagannath, fondly called as 'kalia' by lakhs of devotees, was installed in the 'Nandighosh' chariot.
The devotees broke into frenzied shouts of ''Haribol'' and ''Jai Jagannath'' as soon as they witnessed the deities coming out of the temple to board the chariots to begin their nine-day sojourn to the Gundicha temple.(UNI)