Chariots reach Gundicha temple in Baripada

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Baripada, Jul 6 (UNI) Unlike Puri, the pulling of the three chariots of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra started two days after the Pahandi vije, the ceremonial procession of the deities, and was completed in two phases here.

Accordingly, the fourteen wheel ''Taladhwaja'' ( Chariot of Lord Balabhadra) rolled on the Bada Danda (Grand Road) and reached the Mausi temple yeaterday afternoon. Thereafter, the twelve-wheel ''Devidalan'' (Goddess Subhadra's chariot) moved next and stopped near the Town police station.

As the pulling ceremony was done in two phases, Subhadra's rath resumed its journey today afternoon and finally reached the Mausi temple.

The last one to roll on the Bada Danda was the ''Nandighosha'' (the massive chariot with sixteen wheels - the largest of the three of Lord Jagannath) that reaches the temple before evening today marking the end of the two-phase ceremonial drive of the Lord to his aunt's house on an eleven-day sojourn.

'Vijaya' the chariot of goddess Subhadra was pulled exclusively by the womenfolk. The system of pulling the chariot by women was first introduced in the International Women's year in 1975 and is continuing till date.

This gender specific event brought fame to Baripada beyond its geographical boundaries, and attracted women devotees from the neighbouring Jharkhand and West Bengal to get an easy and safe access to the ropes of Subhadra's chariot and pull it to wash away their sins, said Bisakha Ghosh from Jamshedpur.

Exalted young girls - Sruti Tripathy, Lucky Sahoo and Shibani Dey, first year students of the MPC Junior College, Baripada, expressed jubilation while pulling the 'Vijaya' chariot of Goddess Subhadra .

A tribal woman, Sonali Murmu from Betna Panchayat in the outskirt of the town said it was also easy for the tribal women to pull Subhadra's chariot since its reservation for women about three decades ago. '' We are no longer required to jostle with our male counterparts to get an access to the ropes of ''Debidalan,'' she said.

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