Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar/Puri, Feb 23:
Odisha chief secretary GC Pati today held discussions with Gajapati Dibya Singha Deb, the Puri king and the first servitor of Lord Jagannath, at the special circuit house here on the progress of various preparatory work associated with Nabakalebar Yatra and the beautification of the Shree Mandir and Grand Road.
“It was a general meeting on Shree Mandir and on how it can be developed. We discussed how different projects for Nabakalebar can be expedited. He gave his opinion on certain issues and projects which I have taken note of,” Pati told reporters after coming out of the meeting.
Meanwhile, with barely 34 days left for the Banajaga Yatra – the search for daru (neem tree) for making of idols, considered the opening chapter of the Nabakalebar process of Lord Jagannath – to begin, the administration is yet to succeed in its attempts to hold a meeting with Daitapati sevayats (servitors) to sort out the differences.
Daitapatis play a vital role in the whole Nabakalebara process starting with the Banajaga yatra to the transfer of the Bramha or the soul of the idols.
The administration is yet to hold a formal meeting with Daitapatis – the body protectors of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra – on preparations for Banajaga yatra and the materials required for it.
The administration has failed to persuade the Daitapatis, who are peeved over the parsimonious compensation offer made by the state government for losses suffered by them in last year’s Rath Yatra. Sources said the Daitapatis are not cooperating with the administration for the Banajaga Yatra on this account.
The daitapatis say they suffered a huge loss last year when devotees were barred from climbing atop chariots following a High Court order which upheld the Shankaracharya’s views that persons other than those connected with rituals should not mount the chariots.
While the administration is yet to hold discussions with the Daitapatis on the final list of materials required for the Banajaga Yatra or its route and the places where the Banajaga Yatra team will stay during the course of the Yatra, it is eliciting facts from old files Nabakalebar Yatras held earlier, said sources.
On the other hand, Daitapatis Nijog has begun preparations for the Banajaga Yatra on its own without taking the administration into confidence and has announced formation of different committees for Nabakalebar, including one committee meant for search of daru. This has turned out to be a major headache for the administration.
Throwing a challenge to the government, the Daitapati Nijog has announced: “We will conduct the Nabakalebar Yatra of the Lords in a disciplined manner, but not as per the wishes of the administration. We will conduct the Nabakalebar Yatra of the Lords in accordance with the sacred texts with much fanfare”.
The Nabakalebar Yatra mainly comprises of Banajaga Yatra, identification of daru as per prophesy in a dream, worship of daru, return of the sagadi (cart) carrying daru to Shreekshetra, mahaanabasar after snana purnima, Rath Yatra after nabajouban darshan, sandhya darshan, Bahuda Yatra and sunabesha.
Out of these events, Banajaga Yatra, identification of daru as per prophesy in a dream, worship of daru, return of the sagadi (cart) carrying daru to Shreekshetra, mahaanabasar after snana purnima are exclusive to Nabakalebar Yatra in comparison to Rath Yatra that’s held every year.
In all these activities, Daitapatis play a pivotal role. For the Banajaga Yatra, two sagadis are required to accompany the Banajaga Yatra team, one for carrying the agnya mala (a garland symbolizing the order of the Lord) and the other for carrying materials for yagna. Sources said sagadis to be used for the purpose are yet to be arranged.
The administration has finalized the route through which the Banajaga Yatra team will go and which places it will stay during the course of its journey since it has not been discussed with Daitapatis. Sources said Daitapatis have decided to halt as per their will during the course of the journey.
The list of materials required for yagnas and poojas during the Banajaga Yatra are yet to be prepared. Similarly, the list of materials required for the special pooja that takes place after the daru is identified too is yet to be finalized.
As Daitapatis are not cooperating with the administration, it is rummaging through old documents pertaining to Nabakalebar Yatras held earlier to prepare a list of these materials in a one-sided manner.