Lakhs of devotees thronged the streets of Puri to get a glimpse of the Holy Trinity - Lord Balabhadra, Lord Jagannath and Devi Subhadra - decked up in gold ornaments weighing 208 kilograms for the 'Suna Besha' ritual on Saturday. 'Suna Besha' ritual is unique to Rath Yatra celebrations as the deities adorn golden ornaments before they return to the main temple in Puri after completing their nine-day sojourn.
The ritual started at 4 pm and was followed by 'sandhya dhupa' (evening prayers) at 8 pm and Chandan Lagi at 12:30 am. A glimpse of Lord Jagannath during 'Suna Besha' is considered auspicious, as per the devotees.
Three garlands of consent from the three deities were placed on the three grand chariots, thereby officially permitting the conduct of preparatory rituals for readying the chariots for pulling. The three chariots look just like temples that have been decorated with small idols, diyas (earthen pots), and garlands.
The deities' hands, arms and crowns are made of solid gold. Lord Jagannath holds a gold chakra in his right hand and silver 'sankha' (conch) in his left hand, while Lord Balabhadra holds a gold 'hala' (plough) in his left hand and a golden 'gada' (mace) in his right hand. This year, the Rath Yatra began on July 4.
The annual yatra starts from Shree Jagannath Temple and concludes at Shree Gundicha temple. The devotees pull the grand chariots on the road covering a distance of nearly 2.5 kilometres. Pulling the chariots is considered to be a good omen and is also believed to bring luck and prosperity.
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