Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Kanakpur/Gadakuntunia, Apr 19:
Hundreds of devotees have been thronging Kanakpur in Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur district ever since the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) chief administrator Suresh Chandra Mohapatra made the formal announcement on Fridaythat the neem tree in front of the famous Sarala temple has been selected as the daru for carving of the new idol of Lord Balabhadra.
While devotees were seen worshiping the daru by offering diyas (wicker lamps) and flowers, the administration has erected barricades using iron grills around the tree for its protection. It has cleared the space encroached by shops and other makeshift establishments around the assigned tree. With the singing of hymns to beats of mridangas, cymbals and kirtans by various groups of devotees, an atmosphere of spirituality prevails here.
The approach to the location being narrow, the police administration has blocked entry of vehicles into the area for facilitating darshan of the daru by devotees, who are arriving in hordes from nearby areas as well as far off places.
Around 15 platoons of policemen have been deployed for security and crowd control.
While a team from the Banajaga Yatris Saturday visited the place to take stock of preparations, the administration is busy building infrastructure for the conduct of rituals preceding the felling of the daru, which has been tentatively fixed for April 24, as well as for the stay of the Banajaga Yatra team.
According to district administration officials at Kanakpur, the construction of Sabarapalli where the Banajaga Yatra team will camp and the yagna mandap where the mahayagna ritual will be conducted will be completed by Sunday. As per the schedule announced by the SJTA, the mahayagna will be held on April 22 and 23 and the daru will be felled on April 24 on its completion.
With the announcement of location of Lord Balabhadra’s daru at Kanakpur and felling of Lord Sudarshan’s daru at Gadakuntunia, the focus has now shifted to Kanakpur.
The flow of devotees to Gadakuntunia has thinned.
Biswakarma servitors and locals are busy chopping off branches from the trunk of the daru which are being buried in a pit. The trunk which will be reduced to a rectangular solid block will be carried to Shree Mandir at Puri.
Daitapati servitors told reporters that the process would take two to three days at the end of which the log (mahadaru) will be carried in a sagadi (cart with four wheels made of either tamarind, banyan or tendu timber).
Wood for construction of the sagadi has already arrived and work on it will start soon, informed Daitapati servitors. The mahadaru will be wrapped in silk and tied with silk ropes and would be pulled by devotees all the way to Puri using silk ropes.
“We will only take that part, which will be required for carving of the idol of the Lord. The remaining parts will be buried in a pit here. After that, the sagadi will be constructed. Once the sagadi is ready, the mahadaru/Lord will be loaded on to it and carried to Puri. It will take another two to three days and Lord Sudarshan will leave for Shree Kshetra. We Vidyapati, Biswabasu and Daitapati brothers will leave for Kanakpur, the location where Lord Balabhadra’s daru has been identified,” said Binayak Das Mohapatra, Biswabasu of the Banajaga team.