Pahandi Bije – A Photo Story: Pahandi Bije – The journey of the deities on the world famous Rath Yatra begins with an elaborate royal ritual called Pahandi.
The two brothers, Mahaprabhu Balabhadra and Jagannatha are decorated with large, elaborate floral decorations called the Tahia. These are like huge crowns or tiara and are fixed at the back of
their heads. These are made of a variety of white, orange and lotus flowers, leaves and pieces of cork fixed to a semicircular heart shaped bamboo frame.
Mahaprabhu Jagannatha and Balabhadra, decorated with the Tahias are carried forward in a slow, swaying movement, giving the illusion of a huge elephant gracefully and gently stepping out. The privilege of providing these tahias is with the Raghavadasa Matha- a monastery associated with the temple. Hundreds and thousands of devotees eagerly await a glimpse of the deities. As the deities step out of the Singhdwara of the temple.
The Sinhadwara or The Lion’s Gate, the teeming devotees, bhaktas go wild with ecstasy, chanting the name of the Mahaprabhu in a loud chorus. The chant Haribol – literally
means to utter the name of Hari, the Lord.
First comes Lord Sudarshan who takes its place on the chariot of Devi Subhadra. Lord Sudarshan is followed by Lord Balabhadra. Much smaller, Devi Subhadra, the yellow-golden coloured younger sister of Mahaprabhu Jagannatha and Balabhadra, follows soon after. At last comes Lord Jagannatha, in a regal procession. Dancers perform traditional Odissi dance to the accompaniment of mardala and mridanga, traditional Orissan percussion instruments, as the procession moves forward. Devotees also perform sankirtan, ritual group chanting of the names of Lords with rhythmic jumping movements.