Berhampur, July 6 (LocalWire): Hundreds of people thronged Surangi, Digapahandi, and Dharakote in Ganjam district to participate in the Jagannath Rath Yathra here on Friday, a day after the wheels of the chariots rolled at the world’s biggest annual chariot festival in Puri.
The celebration at Surangi was also joined by the locals from the nearby villages of Andhra Pradesh and the tribal population.
While the rituals at the festival in these places are similar to that of the Rath Yatra in Puri, the chariots of the deity are pulled a day after the famous festival, making it unique in the world.
Ever since the Jagannath temple was built in Surangi, located near Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border by the then king of Surangi in the eighteenth century, locals and the temple management have been celebrating the pulling of chariot a day after the festival is celebrated elsewhere, said Gopal Chandra Hota, president of the festival committee here.
A similar practice is also followed at Dharakote and Digapahandi, the erstwhile Bada Khemundi estate.
The return festival of the deity, known as the Bahuda festival, at these places is also observed a day after the traditional Bahuda Yatra.
While the exact reason for one-day delay in these places is not known or documented, locals believe that since everyone went to participate in the famous Rath Yatra in the nearby places including Jarada and Chikiti, there were hardly any devotees available to pull chariot of Lord Jagannath here and hence the then kings postponed the pulling of chariots by a day.
Devotees who throng at Jarda to participate in the Rath Yatra usually participate in pulling the chariot at Surangi.
The Rath Yatra was celebrated with gaiety at Jarada on Thursday.