Puri Deities Return Home on Niladri Bije

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BY: SUN STAFF CORRESPONDENT - 11.7 2017

Rasagola Bhoga 

Curtains came down on the nine-day Rath Yatra in Puri, with the Deities returning to THE sanctum sanctorum at Jagannath temple on Thursday, marking Niladri Bije ritual.

As last year's Nildari Bije disruption cast a shadow, the district administration heaved a sigh of relief following smooth conduct of the last leg of car festival this year.

Devi Subhadra 
This year's highpoint of Niladri Bije was the commencement of procession of the Deities from the chariots into the temple way ahead of schedule. While the Pahandi procession used to start around 7.30 pm or 8 pm in previous years, devotees were pleasantly surprised to see its start at around 5.15 pm.

Despite the tussle between Shree Jagannath Temple Administration and priests on the issue of banning pilgrims' access on chariots, the car festival, which was surrounded by a series of controversies almost every year, was smooth-sailing this time. "We are thankful to the servitors for smooth conduct of the entire festival. Servitors cooperated with each other and completed all rituals in time," said temple's Chief Administrator, Pradeep Kumar Jena.

Balabhadra 

There was minor chaos following allegations by some priests that a police officer touched Goddess Subhadra during Pahandi procession. As per the 2014 Orissa High Court order, only on-duty servitors are entitled to touch the Deities during Pahandi. Temple sources said Inspector General (central range) Soumendra Priyadarshi will inquire into the matter.

The administration was on toes as last year's Niladri Bije witnessed a ruckus after some priests took their family members onto the chariots, violating the High Court order. The priests had heckled Puri collector Aravind Agarwal for opposing the presence of their family members on chariots. Pahandi procession of the Deities was then stalled by the irate priests for several hours, sparking a public outcry.

Lord Jagannath 
In a related development, some district officials on Thursday lodged a protest near collector Aravind Agarwal against police atrocity on them. The officers alleged that the police personnel misbehaved with them during July 4 Suna Besha and July 5 Adharapana ritual in front of Jagannath Temple. "We will lodge complaints against the erring police personnel at Singhadwar police station. Police personnel manhandled us on duty," said an officer.

Rasagola Bhoga