Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Nov 11:
In an unfortunate incident, an old man died of suffocation in Odisha’s pilgrim town Puri this afternoon.
The deceased identified as Nidhi Behera aged about 70 years, who hailed from Nayagarh, suffered from asphyxia while standing in the queue in the barricade erected at the Bada Danda (Grand Road) leading to the Simhadwar (Lion’s Gate) of the Shree Mandir, reports said.
Nidhi who was rushed to the district headquarters hospital here, died while undergoing treatment, the reports added.
The deceased with five of his family members had come to Puri to offer paya shradh and was standing in the queue waiting for his turn to arrive when the unfortunate incident happened.
Following a minor stampede like situation and the unbearable heat in Puri today, the deceased fell unconscious and was rushed to the district headquarters hospital where he succumbed after undergoing treatment, despite best efforts by the attending doctors to save him.
People in lakhs have thronged to Puri to offer paya shradh to their ancestors this being pitru paksha.
The practice is to offer shardh to the ancestors at the baisi pahacha and later burn jute sticks at the Simhadwar of the Shree Mandir to pay obeisance to their ancestors through a unique ritual known as Badabadua Daka which is performed on the day of Deepavali. The ritual begins in the morning and continues till late evening.
Holding bunches of jute-stems in hand, thousands of devotees set them afire to invoke their ancestors to descend from their heavenly abode and visit the Earth to bless them.
The invocation process involves the chanting of a prayer, “Badabadua ho andhaare aasa, aalua re jaa” (Oh hon’ble ancestors, come in darkness and go back along the lighted path).
The oldest member of a family is the first to chant these lines and is joined by other members of the family with lighted bundles of jute-stems in their hands.