Balbhadra Idol Falls on Sevaks During Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra: 9 Injured

An accident occurred at the Gundicha Temple in Puri on Tuesday night at 9 PM, where the idol of Lord Balabhadra fell on the sevaks (devotees), injuring 9 people. The incident happened during the Pahandi ritual at the Gundicha Temple following the Rath Yatra on July 8th. Sevaks were carrying the idols from the chariot to the temple.

While lowering Lord Balabhadra, the sevaks slipped on the slope of the chariot, causing the idol to fall on them. Nine people were injured, with five receiving treatment in the hospital. Fortunately, the idol was not damaged.

Two Sevaks Discharged After Treatment

An injured sevak reported that the accident occurred due to a problem with the rope tied to the idol. Two of the hospitalized individuals were discharged and rejoined the religious rituals. Odisha Chief Minister Mohan Charan Majhi expressed concern over the incident and wished the injured sevaks a speedy recovery.

He directed Law Minister Prithviraj Harichandan to immediately visit Puri and take appropriate action. Deputy Chief Minister Pravati Parida also visited Puri, stating they would report to the Chief Minister for further action.

Death During Rath Yatra

During the Rath Yatra in Puri, a devotee died of suffocation while pulling the Taladhwaj chariot of Lord Balabhadra. He was taken to the hospital where doctors declared him dead. Additionally, eight people fainted due to suffocation in the crowd and were later admitted to the hospital. Odisha CM Mohan Charan Majhi announced Rs 4 lakh compensation for the deceased’s family and free treatment for the injured.

Lord Jagannath to Return to the Main Temple on July 15

Immediately after the accident, the worship of Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra, and Lord Balabhadra resumed, and all idols were taken inside the Gundicha Temple, believed to be their birthplace. The deities will stay there until July 15, the day of Bahuda Yatra, when all three idols will return to the main temple on the same day.

Changing Atmosphere Around Gundicha Temple

The Gundicha Temple is only 3 km away from Jagannath Temple in Puri. Every year, when the deities arrive here, preparations begin in every house within a 500-meter radius of the temple a month in advance. People adopt a pure and sattvic lifestyle, abstaining from non-vegetarian food. For all seven days of the Rath Yatra, people wear new clothes and start their day by eating the Abhada Prasad received after the deity’s worship.

Why is the Rath Yatra Two Days This Year?

According to Dr. Jyoti Prasad of Jagannath Temple, the Rath Yatra is usually a one-day event every year, but in 2024, it spans two days. Previously, in 1971, this yatra lasted two days. This change is due to a reduction in the number of days in the calendar.

Every year on the full moon day of Jyeshtha month, Lord Jagannath is bathed, which leads to his falling ill and remaining so for 15 days during the Krishna Paksha of Ashadha month, during which he is not seen by devotees.

On the 16th day, the Lord is decorated and gives darshan as a youth. Following this, the Rath Yatra begins from the second day of the Shukla Paksha of Ashadha.

This year, due to a reduction in the number of days, the Krishna Paksha of Ashadha had only 13 days instead of 15. Thus, the day of the Dwitiya (second day) was the day for the Lord to recover. On this date, the Rath Yatra is also conducted.

On July 7, the worship rituals of the Lord continued throughout the day. It was essential to conduct the Rath Yatra on this day. Therefore, the Rath Yatra began on the evening of July 7 and continued until sunset, moving the chariot only 5 meters on that day.

Niyati Rao

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