Berhampur, July 4 (LocalWire): The chariot of Devi Subhadra, sister of Lord Jagannath was pulled by the women at Goshaninuagon here, while other two chariots of Lord Jagannath and Balabhadra were pulled by their male counterparts during Rath Yatra today.
Berhampur is the second place in the state after Baripada, where the gender-specific event was performed during the famous car festival.
The pulling of Devi Subhadra’s rath exclusively by women in Baripada, the tribal heartland of the state was started in 1975.
Following the custom in Baripada, women started pulling the rath of Goshainuagon temple here from 2000, said the organizers.
The enthusiasm of women to participate in the Rath Yatra was evident from the increase in numbers year after year since the introduction of the gender-specific event, claimed Panchanan Choudhury, manager of the Jagannath temple, Goshaninuagon.
The girls from different educational institutions in the town turned up in large numbers to pull the chariot.
‘People now respect the event too,’ he said.
There was no untoward incident reported since they reserved the chariot of Devi Subhadra for women, he added.
Several women were seen pulling the chariots from the temple to Gundicha temple at Goshaninuagon, about one-and half kilometer, along with the two other chariots.
‘We think reserving the Devi Subhadra rath exclusively for women to pull gives a chance to the fair sex to participate in Rath Yatra,’ said Choudhury.
‘Women do not have to get into fights with their counterpart in the crowd to get closer to the chariot.
Besides, there are fewer chances of women being victim of unscrupulous men, when they congregate in one chariot during the festival,’ said Sanghamitra Dalia, former corporator, Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC).
Police deploys women officers to guard the chariot of Devi Subhadra and for crowd management near it, said a police officer.