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Millions of devotees attended the Rath Yatra Chariot festival and witnessed the Return Journey of the three sibling deities – Lord Balabhadra, Lord Jagannath and Devi Subhadra – to the Shri Jagannath temple, in Puri on Friday, after a nine-day ‘holiday’ in the Gundicha temple.
Three massive wooden chariots decorated with gold ornaments – each representing an idol – were paraded through the city with a traditional stop at the Mausima Temple. Footage shows people following the march, praying, chanting or watching the ceremony from buildings.
“I have never seen so much of a crowd and celebrations like this. I am very much excited to see the devotion, the chariots and people,” said Gairika, who attended the festival for the first time.
Suzanne travelled all the way from the UK to witness the ceremony. “The vibration of the whole city is divine and I just feel God’s special blessing here, so it’s a real joy to be here,” she said.
Following the popular beliefs, the festival commemorates the annual journey of the three idols, in which they spend nine days at their aunt’s residence – the Sri Gundicha Temple – and return on the 10th day to Srimandir on their majestic wooden chariots.
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