Puri: Braving heavy downpour here, lakhs of devotees on Friday witnessed the "Suna Vesha" of the Trinity- Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra- in golden attire, a ritual held annually marking end of the Ratha Jatra.
In the evening of the 11th day of the bright fortnight of Asadha, the deities are adorned with gold ornaments and dressed gorgeously in their respective chariots parked outside the 12th century shrine, said Pandit Surya Narayan Rathsharma, a researcher in Jagannath culture.
A large number of devotees, many of whom came from far off places to witness the annual Rath Yatra festival here, got an inkling of the Lord`s opulence when the sibling deities donned gold ornaments from head to toe during the Suna Vesha ritual.
The deities of the Jagannath temple were adorned with gold jewellery weighing about 208 kilogram, sources said adding that sometimes quantity of gold used in the annual rituals also changes.
The deities` hands, arms and crowns are made of solid gold. Lord Jagannath holds a gold chakra in his right hand and silver `sankha` (conch) in his left hand. Balabhadra holds a gold `hala` (plough) in his left hand and a golden `gada` (mace) in his right hand, said Rabinarayan Mishra, a former administrator of Sri Jagannath Temple Administration.
Suna Vesha, according to temple records, was introduced during the reign of King Kapilendra Deb in 1460.
The Lord was made to don about 20 quintal of gold ornaments during those days, said a researcher adding that the weight of the ornaments came down subsequently, possibly to ward off subversive attacks from thieves.
While the devotees make beeline to have "darshan" of the Lord, gun-toting cops virtually took over the chariots, in order to thwart any attack on the deities.
"We have taken all possible steps to avoid any possible untoward incident. The security personnel are on their toes," said additional director general (ADG) Sanjiv Marik.