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Odisha village busy preparing ropes to pull holy chariots

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Birapratappur, June 21:

With hardly a week left for the world famous Rath Yatra of Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath in Puri,  men and women in Birapratappur village near Pipili in Odisha’s Puri district are busy making ropes that will be attached to the three chariots which will be pulled to the Gundicha temple, 3 kms away, on June 29.rath ropes

Earlier, these ropes used to be procured from Kerala but since last seven years these are being prepared at the Coir Processing Project at Birapratappur.

Each rope has a length of 220 feet and a circumference of eight inches. Each rope takes two full days for 15 artisans to prepare one  rope, which also requires 112 kg of coir fibre, 30 litres of lubricant oil and 15 litres of kerosene .

“For this year’s Rath Yatra 15 ropes used for chariot pulling and six ropes used for cordons will be supplied”, said Shankar Jena, Manager, Coir Processing Project.preparing ropes

Men and women artisans maintain utmost austerity and a completely vegetarian diet during the preparation of the ropes. They wear new clothes as they engage themselves in the rope-making. considered to have been a service to Lord Jagannath.

“We consider ourselves blessed and lucky for being able to serve Lord Jagannath this way. We do other kinds of work during the rest of the year for our livelihood”, said Nayana Bewa, a woman engaged in rope making for the holy chariots.