Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Mar 29:
The long process of Nabakalebara of Lord Jagannath got underway at the Sri Nahar (King’s Palace) in Odisha’s holy town of Puri with the completion of the gua teka (handing over of betel nut) ritual this morning.
Gajapati Maharaj Dibya Singh Dev, the King of Puri and the first servitor of Lord Jagannath handed over a betel nut (gua teka ritual) to the Rajguru (royal counselor) for the Banajaga Yatra after the completion of the customary poojas at his palace
The gua teka ritual symbolizes the green signal or authorization by the King for the Banajaga expedition to go ahead. Later in the afternoon the Rajguru will hand over the same betel nut to Biswabasu of the Banajaga Yatra team.
Banajaga Yatra is the expedition for search of darus (neem trees) for carving out of new idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Sudarshan.
According to sources in the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), the agyanmala bije ritual will take place at 3.30 pm, followed by shaddhibandha of the Daitapatis at 5 pm and the start of Banajaga Yatra, the first act in the elaborate process called Nabakalebara, at 5.10 pm.
The names for different posts of the Banajaga Yatra team were announced by the SJTA last evening.
“Now we have published the final order with the complete list of persons who will be in the Banajaga Yatra team that will commence its journey tomorrow. It was already decided earlier that Haladhara Dasmohapatra will be the dalapati (team leader). Four have been selected as upadalapatis (deputy team leaders) since Banajaga Yatra will be of approximately one and half month duration. They will be assisting the dalapati in identification of darus (neem trees) and other allied works. They are Ramakrushna Dasmohapatra, Durga Dasmohapatra, Chandrasekhar Dasmohapatra and Ganesh Dasmohapatra. Binayak Dasmohapatra has been nominated as Biswabasu. Besides, Narasingha Pati Mohapatra has been designated as Vidyapati,” SJTA chief administrator Suresh Chandra Mohapatra told reporters here ast evening.
Mohapatra said the procession will start from Sri Mandir on Sunday evening after the shadibandha ritual is complete. It will take a little time since more than 100 people will be participating in the shadibandha ritual, he added.
“We have tried to accommodate senior members from the different groups among them and those who had aspired to hold positions of Biswabasu and others so that Banajaga Yatra is conducted smoothly with the participation of all,,said the chief administrator.
Binayak Dasmohapatra, the man nominated as the Biswabasu of the Banajaga Yatra team is elated over his appointment and feels to be privileged to serve the Lord.
“Biswabasu is the foremost servitor of Lord Jagannath. Biswabasu is the head of the Daita community. The betel nut touched by the Gajapati Maharaj will be handed over to Biswabasu. It is only after Biswabasu accepts the betel nut that this Yatra will commence. After that we will visit the Jagannath Ballav mutt where we will stay for the night. On the midnight of March 30, we will commence our journey towards Deuli mutt at Kakatpur. After Maa Mangala prophesies in our dream the location of darus, we will move in search of the darus in four directions. I am hopeful of completing this huge responsibility of the Lord bestowed on me with his blessings. This job of the Lord has to done with the utmost austerity and devotion,” Dasmohapatra told reporters after the announcement of his nomination as the Biswabasu.
“We have an important role. We have 365 days of seva (service) of the Lord. In the Banajaga Yatra, after barana (initiation/nomination) asVidyapati, he obtains agyamala from Lord Sudarshan, climbs atop the Ratnasimhasan and gets anyamalas from Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and hands it over to respective three Badagrahis (body protectors of the deities). The Vidyapati then leads the procession to the king’s palace and from there to Jagannath Ballav mutt where we halt. The next day we move towards Dueli mutt and Maa Mangala’s temple at Kakatpur after midnight,” said Narasingha Pati Mohapatra, the man selected as the Vidyapati.
Elaborate police arrangements have been made for the Banajaga Yatra, said Puri SP Asish Kumar Singh.
“Since the Lord’s Yatra starting tomorrow is of long duration, we have segregated security arrangements and deployment of personnel into three segments. The journey from the Temple here to Deuli mutt has been divided into three parts. Search for darus has been kept in the third part. Four ASP rank officers, eight DSPs and 83 sub-inspectors and ASIs will be deployed in different duties. Traffic control during the Yatra is a major concern. There will be a dedicated unit attached to the Banajaga Yatra team till the culmination of the Yatra. The unit, to be headed by an ASP rank officer, will move with the Yatra team and follow the same discipline as followed by the Yatra team members,” said Singh.