Puri, July 26 (UNI) The three-kilometre Grand Road virtually turned into an ocean of humans as nearly 1.4 million devotees converged in this pilgrim city to witness the Sunavesha of the Lord Jagannth, his elder brother Balabhadra and sister Devi Subhadra on their respective chariots before the Lions gate of Jagannath temple.
The three presiding deities after their arrival at their original abode on the tenth day from the commencement of the Rath Yatra called ''Hari Sayan Ekadashi'' were used to be decked in gold ornaments called ''Sunavesha''.
The administration expecting a massive crowd had made special arrangements for regulation of pilgrim traffic. The police had a tough time to regulate the vehicular traffic as devotees started flocking in to the city since morning in big numbers.
Earlier in the day the servitors performed Puspanjali, Arati, Bastralagi and dressed the deities in flowers before the Sunavesha commenced this evening.
Bhandar man (traditional temple treasurer) accompanied by temple officials carried quintals of gold ornaments from the temple treasury amidst tight security. The traditional dressers Simharee and the Puspalak servitors within an hour completed the Suna Vesha by fashioning giant feet, arms, tiaras, ears, ear rings (kundalas) to the deities while gold and diamond studded necklaces called Harida, Bahada, Kadamba and Baghanakhi malis studded with jewels were put on them.
''Chadra hara'', a special set of necklaces called ''Odhiani'' were garlanded. The armaments of Lord Jagannath- Chakra and Conch while plough and mace of the lord Balabhadra were fixed.
Temple sources said about five quintals of pure gold ornaments and jewellery were used in the dressing. To facilitate a large number of devotees to witness the Sunavesha the administration had advanced the nitees and the Suna vesha was opened to the public at 1730 hours.
A multi-layer security cover was thrown around the three chariots with Rapid Action Force jawans guarding the chariots and a heavy barricade to secure the huge treasure and for the smooth conduct of the fete.
A number of high resolution TV cameras were installed at different places to scan the pilgrims while armed policemen were seen manning the roof tops of the buildings along the Grand road.
Director General of Police (DGP) Amarananda Pattnaik assisted by IGPs B.B.Mishra and Pradip Kapur monitored the arrangements while Temple chief administrator S.C.Mahapatra, district magistrate Rashmiranjan Pattnaik and the SP Asit Kumar Panigrahi were present at the festival site to supervise the crowd movement.
Temple sources said the Sunavesha would continue till late in the night. After undressing, the ornaments would be deposited in the temple treasury and the deities would return to the ratnasimhasan inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Jagannath temple on July 28 next after offering of Rasagola bhog on the rathas.
Tomorrow the deities would offer ''Adhar Pana'', a sacred drink to the ghostly bodies to attain ''moskhya'' before entering in to the sanctum sanctorum popularly called called Niladri Bije.