Saturday, December 29, 2012

Chariots of the gods

Chariots of the gods
Hugh & Colleen Ganzter watched entranced as the raths of Lord Jagannath, Subhadra and Balabhadra began their annual journey in Puri. On a humid monsoon day, you can experience Puri's epiphany. So did a million other people.

They streamed down side streets and lanes and little winding alleys, poured into the broad Grand Road till it became a flowing river of humanity. And still more surged in, packed tighter and tighter till all we could see from our grandstand in the terrace of the palace was a sea of heads streaked with snaking currents of saffron, red and white as sects and cults merged with flood of devotees.
In the morning the frisson of festivity had been electric. The huge raths may have been shifted to the far end of Grand Road where zestful crowds clanged cymbals, thudded drums, danced and sang. A street-side langar got ready to serve steaming poori-bhaji to eager pilgrims. After breakfast, the police cleared a path for hurrying heralds lofting standards and banners, stopped at the gate of the palace.

The Gajapati Maharaja, dressed in white robes with a plumed and jewelled turban, and the sash and cummerbund of office, emerged accompanied by the head priest. He stepped into a silver palanquin as his Ganga dynasty ancestors had done ever since they had built the great temple by the shore of the Bay of Bengal a thousand years ago.

The flags and standards tracked his passage through the jubilant crowd. Then, using a golden broom, he carefully and ceremonially swept the forecourt of the huge raths, signalling the start of the divine trio's annual yatra from their temple on the second day of the shukla pakshya (waxing moon) in the month of Ashadh, to the Gundicha temple, at the end of the Grand Road.

A red fire tanker may spray a plume of water over the crowd as pilgrims danced in ecstatic devotion. Slowly, ponderously, the black and red chariot of Subhadra rolled into view. It was crammed with saffron-clad servitors clanging gongs, waving cheerily. The chariot moved on, the crowd flowed in behind it. Cameras clicked and flared around.

Two young pandas sat astride the white, wooden, horses. Worshippers on our terrace joined their hands and bowed deeply in obeisance till this, the last and most powerful ratha, had passed. The three chariots began to shrink with distance as they drew closer to Gundicha temple where the deities would rest for eight days before making the return journey to the main temple.

The great cacophony of celebration began to subside as the crowds dispersed in the soft light of sunset, laughing and clapping, charged by their twelve-hour close encounter with their gods. Even we felt unusually vitalized by it all.

Source: The Indian Times


  1. There's no such issue as a lovely snore, regardless of how appealing somebody looks in the day it all goes to hell when they commence snoring at evening. Snoring can cease you from acquiring the top quality rest you need, and not obtaining sufficient sleep at night could make usually secure tasks including driving dangerous. Not to mention becoming exiled in the bedroom since you might be keeping your companion up at night. But this doesn't neеd tο
    bе, there агe ѕοmе baѕiс
    tips it is possible to use to hеlp yourself cеаse snοгing.

    Review mу wеbрage ... snoring aid

  2. Hi, I do think this is a great site. I stumbledupon it ;) I'm going to return once again since i have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.

    my weblog :: steve