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Odisha Banajaga Yatra enters 10th day; lunar eclipse to delay announcement on ‘darus’

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Kakatpur, Apr 7:

Banajaga Yatra – the expedition in search of darus (neem trees with special attributes used for carving of new idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Sudarshan) entered its tenth day today.

daru khoja

Daitapati servitors have been fanning out in different directions from dawn to dusk for the last two days in search of neem trees to be selected as darus for carving new idols after receiving the prophesy from Maa Mangala in their dreams on the location of darus following completion of majana niti of Maa Mangala.

Senior Daitapati servitors informed on Monday evening that the locations of selected darus will be announced after the end of this week which had a lunar eclipse in it and hence considered inauspicious according to scriptures for such announcements.

Like the last two days, senior Daitapati servitors accompanied by young Daitapatis, Rajguru, stotriya Brahmins and other servitors from among the Banajaga Yatra team divided themselves into small groups and left for undisclosed places in search of darus in all directions today too.

Daitapatis are examining the neem trees for special attributes like the holy signs of Sankha, Chakra, Gada and Padma (conch shell, wheel, mace and lotus) on the trunk of the neem tree.

“Daitapati servitors have left for places in different directions in search of darus. We will be very soon locating the darus for the idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Sudarshan. Scriptures forbid announcements on location of darus during a week which has a lunar eclipse in it. We have the blessing of the Lord with us and darus will be located very soon,” said upadalapati of the Banajaga Yatra team and Daitapati Nijog’s president Ramakrushna Das Mohapatra.

“After finalization of the darus for the four idols, the location of the daru for carving of the idol of Lord Sudarshan is announced first. After holding of yagna for two and a half days, the chopping of the daru for Lord Sudarshan’s idol will begin followed by cutting of the others. These things will take place only after April 10 since this is a lunar eclipse week. It’s most likely that the announcement on the location of Lord Sudarshan’s daru will be made after April 10,” said Biswabasu of Banajaga team Binayak Das Mohapatra.

“Since it is lunar eclipse week, no announcements can be made with regard to location of darus. We are going in search of darus. Only after it is discussed among ourselves, our dalapati will inform on the location of the darus. This being a lunar eclipse week such announcements are forbidden,” said another senior Daitapati.

Special arrangements have been made for glitch-free recitation of Chandi Path at the Maa Mangala temple here by stotriya Brahmins accompanying the Daitapatis in the Banajaga Yatra team to avoid disruptions in view of the huge crowd of devotees expected for the Jhamu Yatra at the shrine today.

Sources said by the end of the second day of the search for darus by the Banajaga Yatra team, a total of 26 neem trees have been examined for the special attributes and its learnt that trees with auspicious signs have been identified.

Culture Minister Ashok Panda and chief administrator of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Suresh Chandra Mohapatra visited the Deuli Mutt here on Monday to review the progress made in the identification of darus.

Sources said Banajaga Yatra team members visited Kakatpur, Nimapara, Niali, Astaranga, Banamalipur, Balianta, Khordha, Chandaka, Daruthenga, Barang and some areas of Nayagarh and Khordha districts apart from these places to search and examine neem trees on Monday and have examined 26 trees for the auspicious signs on them.

In the last two days, Daitapati servitors have examined a total of 50 neem trees and one out of the 26 examined yesterday is learnt to be fit for daru. A final decision in this regard, however, will be taken by dalapati Haladhara Das Mohapatra, sources revealed.