Bahuda Yatra: Process of Return Journey

Bahuda Yatra is the Return Journey of the three chariots to Jagannath Temple. It is going to celebrate this year on 23rd July. After spending a week inside the Gundicha temple, the deities commence their Bahuda Yatra on the 10th day of Rath yatra. The return journey follows the same protocol and schedule, as is found during the Ratha Yatra. During the return journey, the three chariots stop for awhile at the Mausima Temple, also known as Ardhasani Temple. This temple is dedicated to the aunt of Lord Jagannath. Here three deities are offered ‘PodaPitha’, a special sweet made of rice, coconut, lentils and jaggery. After taking PodaPitha, three deities start their journey to the main temple. The chariots of Balabhadra and Subhadra move forward and are parked at Lion’s gate of the temple whereas the chariot of Jagannath again halts in front of the King's palace. In the meanwhile Goddess Lakshmi steals a glimpse of the safe return of Jagannath's chariot from the ChahaniMandapa. Being pleased Goddess Lakshmi is carried to the chariot of Jagannath while sitting in the Palanquin.


On the day of Bahuda yatra, during evening the three deities are dressed in gold on their respective chariots. This day is also known as ‘SunaVesha’. The gold is stored at the temple's bhandaraghar. Devotees witnessed the SunaBesha from evening 5 pm till 11 pm.

All the three deities are decorated with gold ornaments. Lord Jagannath and Balabhadra appear with hands and feet made of gold. Lord Jagannath holds a gold Chakra in his right hand and a silver conch in the left hand. Lord Balabhadra appears holding a gold plough in the left hand and a gold mace in the right hand.


On the 11th day, the three deities are offered a refreshing drink named as ‘AdharaPana’. In local language ‘Adhara’ means ‘Lip’ and ‘Pana’ is a sweet scented drink made of milk, sugar, cheese, banana, camphor, nuts, black pepper etc. Apart from these ingredients, other herbal plant extracts like tulasi are also mixed into the drink. The deities are offered AdharaPana on huge cylindrical earthen pots reaching up to their lips. The drink was filled in nine earthen pots and each of the deities was offered three pots each on their respective chariot.


On the 12th day, after the evening rituals, the deities return to the main temple. Deities are taken to the sanctum (RatnaSinghasana) in gotipahandi procession. In gotipahandi procession the Deities move one after another, it means the next Deity only moves from the chariot after the former Deity reached to his/her destination. Before entering the main temple, a traditional act between the servitors of Lord Jagannath and Mahalaxmi was held at the main gate (Jaya Vijaya Door) of the temple. Mahalaxmi, the consort of the Lord Jagannath, was angry as she was left in the main temple and was not a part of the trip to the Gundicha temple. She closes the temple gate on the face of the Lord Jagannath and only allows Lord Balabhadra, Goddess Subhadra and Lord Sudarshana into the temple. To appease Mahalaxmi and to gain access to the temple, Lord Jagannath offers rasagolla (sweet) and requested her to forgive him. After a long conversation, Mahalakshmi finally convinced and opens the temple gate and allows Lord Jagannath inside. After that, Jagannath is made to sit beside Lakshmi where a ritual of reunion is rehearsed and finally Lord Jagannath ascends the RatnaSinghasana and re-joins his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra. Deities home coming ceremony to the temple is known as ‘NILADRI VIJAY’ or ‘NiladriVije’ and ends historic Car Festival.

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