Bhubaneswar, July 18 (IANS) Braving heavy showers, more than half a million devotees witnessed the 'Bahuda Yatra' or the homecoming of Lord Jagannath and two other deities in Odisha's temple town of Puri Thursday, an official said.
The ceremony to take out deities from the Gundicha temple started at 12.20 p.m. and was completed by 2.05 p.m., Laxmidhar Pujapanda, public relations officer of the Jagannath temple, told IANS over phone from Puri, some 55 km from here.
The ceremonial chariot pulling began about 4.50 p.m., he added.
Despite rain lashing the town, at least half a million devotees converged on the Bada Danda road amid chants of "Haribol" and "Jai Jagannath" as the three gigantic chariots rolled down.
The Bahuda Yatra is held eight days after the annual Rath Yatra, which marks the journey of Lord Jagannath, elder brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra, from the 12th century Jagannath temple in three splendidly decorated wooden chariots to Gundicha temple, about two km away.
The Ratha Yatra is held on the second day of the waxing moon during the month of Ashadha (June-July) of the Indian calendar.
The deities return to their abode in the same splendidly decorated chariots, which thousands of devotees pull with the help of ropes amid beats of gongs and drums.
A glimpse of the deities on the chariots during the Rath Yatra and Bahuda Yatra is considered to be very auspicious.
Pujapanda said the town is likely to witness a sea of devotees Friday to witness the Suna Besha or golden attire of the deities on their respective chariots. About 100 kg of gold is used to decorate the deities.