Devotees throng Puri to have a darshan of the deities

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Puri, July 3 (UNI)Thousands of devottees today thronged the temple city to see the lord of the universe sri Jagannath his elder brother Balabhadra and sister devi Subhadra after a fortnight and offered prayers.

The deities remained inaccessible to devotees since the day of snan poornima, the day the deities were down with fever after bathing with 108 pitchers of aromatic water and they were escorted to ''Anasarpindi'' by Daita servitors to a sick room temporarily raised inside the temple.

The traditional physician ''Vaidya'' administered them herbal medicines daily and the deities were kept on restricted fruit diet for fifteen days.

During this couple of weeks devotees were not allowed darshan.

Instead they offer prayers to painted images. It was a belief that the lords manifest in Alarnath, a temple near Brahmagiri and the devotees every day thronged to offer prayers and to taste the famous kheer bhog.

After deities were cured of the sickness today the ceremony with Mangalarati followed by observance of a complex set of nitees began.

Before public appearance of the deities a set of servitors administered traditional cosmetic and make up the faces which was a personal secret nitee called ''Banaklaagi'' and dress up the deities with new attires popularly called Navyouvan darshan.

Today despite attempts to advance the rituals and nitees it was delayed by two hours. Public darshan was allowed from10.30 to 12 noon. Gopal bhog was offered to the deities.

Late in the night after completion of rituals the Daita servitors would fashion the deities with an armour like attire called ''Chhenapatta'' to enable the deities to bear the stress during the pahandi procession.

However the servitors were worried apprehending a thin attendance of devotees during the car festival beginning tomorrow this time due to the cancellation of a number of trains following the disruption of rail trffic due to damaged caused to the railway track during recent flood.

The three rathas were veered from the construction yard and parked in front of the temple main gate for celestial journey of the deities tomorrow.

UNI XC BD DB2231

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