Temple administration plans to preserve Lord Jagannath’s chariots

Lord Jagannath's chariots

Bhubaneswar: In contrast to the practice of destroying three huge chariots after the annual Rath Yatra in Odisha, the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) is considering preserving them this year. These chariots are used for a nine-day annual journey to take Lord Balabhadra, Goddess Subhadra and Lord Jagannath from the Sri Temple to the Sri Gundicha Temple. SJTA Chief Administrator Krishna Kumar said that during the pandemic, this was discussed between carpenters and servants who made three wooden chariots in record time.

Lord Jagannath's chariots

“We have constituted a technical committee which will guide the administration on how to preserve the chariots and protect the wooden structure from pests,” he said. The chariots are destroyed every year after the Rath Yatra festival and this wood is used in the kitchen of the temple but this year SJTA is considering preserving the three chariots in the museum being built at Jagannath Ballav. The Chief Administrator of SJTA said that guidelines have already been issued to take the chariots to the Jagannath Ballav campus.

The chariots, which are wheeled wooden structures, are built a new each year using a particular type of tree. The chariot for Lord Jagannath is approximately 45 feet high and 35 feet square, takes about two months to construct and has 16 wheels. Other than that, the chariots of all three are decorated in bright red, yellow and green and have four carved wooden horses each.

Devotees, who throng the temple, help in pulling the heavy chariots for about 3 km to the Gundicha Temple, making a stop at the Mausi Maa Temple. After staying for 7 days at the former, the deities are then returned to their abode, the Jagannath Temple.