Lord Jagannath Ratha yatra is one of the famous festival on earth.You will not find an inch to spare on the Grand Road in Puri of the festive day. Lord Jagannath with siblings came to give darshan & shower blessings to his beloved disciples.Every ritual related to Ratha Yatra is full of joy & devotion.While the Rath makes the grand road more beautiful & lively , the rhythmically swaying floral crowns (tahiyas) fixed at the back of their heads add grace and beauty to the Lord’s Pahandi ritual.
Stories behind Tahiya of Lord Jagannath , Lord Balabhadra & Subhadra
Rabindra Mishra, former administrator of Jagannath Temple said – The tahiyas are decorative pieces that enhance the beauty of the sibling deities. After being brought to the temple, these are kept in the Laxmi Temple. It is like a gift from the goddess to Lord Jagannath as He embarks on his annual sojourn.
According to Jagannath culture expert Naresh Das – Lord Jagannath was impressed with the saint’s devotion & appeared in the form of Bal Gopal and stood behind him holding an umbrella. It was then that Raghu Arikita promised Him to provide decorative headgears during Pahandi,”.
There are different legends behind this tradition. According to one, a devotee named Raghu Arikita was in meditation under the scorching sun near the Lion’s Gate of the temple. The then king used to provide the devotees shade through Tati (Covering) to prevent them from the heat and thus built the same for Raghu Arikita . However, the saint broke it down as he found no use for it. The king again built a shade for him but when this time the saint tried to pull it down, Lord Jagannath appeared before him. Raghu exclaimed, “Oh Lord, you gave me Tati but I would cover you with Tahiya.” Since then, Raghaba Das Mutt has been providing Tahiyas for the deities.