800,000 devotees witness return of deities at PuriJuly 12th, 2008 - 10:05 pm ICT by IANS
Bhubaneswar, July 12 (IANS) At least 800,000 devotees witnessed the return of Lord Jagannath and two other deities at Orissa’s Puri city Saturday, an official said. “The weather was cloudy and conducive and all the rituals were performed before time,” the official told IANS. “The total number of devotees who witnessed the festival would be at least 800,000,” he said.
Bahuda yatra or the return festival is held nine days after the annual ratha yatra or chariot festival.
Ratha yatra is held on the second day of the waxing moon during the month of Ashadha (June-July) of the Indian calendar.
The festival marks the annual journey of three deities Lord Jagannath, brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra from 12th century Jagannath temple in three splendidly decorated chariots.
Thousands of devotees pull the chariot and take the deities to the Gundicha temple, which is about 5 km from the main temple.
The deities return to the main temple the same way nine days later. Devotees pull the chariots hoping that the exercise will help them get rid of their sins.