Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Gadakuntunia/Kanakpur, Apr 21:
While the daru of Lord Sudarshan, now cut into pieces, is all set to leave Gadakuntunia on the outskirts of Odisha’s capital in a specially made sagadi (cart) for Puri on Tuesday evening, thousands of devotees are braving the scorching sun to make a beeline for Kanakpur, the seat of Maa Sarala in Jagatsinghpur district to have a glimpse of the neem tree in front of the shrine ever since it has been identified as the daru for Lord Balabhadra’s new idol.
The agyanmala (a garland symbolizing go ahead) from Lord Sudarshan at Gadakuntunia has already been sent to Kanakpur, the shrine of Maa Sarala where the daru for Lord Balabhadra has been identified.
While Daitapatis were busy conducting secret rituals on the daru of Lord Sudarshan at Gadakuntinia on Monday, Biswakarma (carpenter) servitors were found giving finishing touches to the sagadi (a specially designed cart having four wheels made of either tendu, tamarind or banyan timber) that will carry the choupata (rectangular solid block of wood made from the trunk of the daru-neem tree).
The daru reduced to choupata will be wrapped in seven layers of silk cloth and fastened to the sagadi with specially made silk (basunga pata) ropes prepared by Patera Bisoyi servitors. The sagadi carrying Lord Sudarshan’s daru will leave its place of origin (Gadakuntunia) around 4 PM on Tuesday for Puri.
“Sudarshan Mahaprabhu’s daru, now reduced to choupata, will be wrapped in seven layers of silk cloth and tightly fastened to the sagadi using specially made silk ropes called basunga pata. This process will be completed early in the morning on Tuesday. Around 4 PM in the evening, Sudarshan Mahaprabhu’s daru will embark on its journey towards Puri for Shree Mandir,” said Haladhar Das Mohapatra, dalapati (team leader) of the Banajaga Yatra team at Gadakuntunia.
While devotees in thousands are thronging to Kanakpur despite the unbearable summer heat to have a glimpse of the daru selected for carving Lord Balabhadra’s new idol, the district administration is busy building infrastructure for the rituals that will precede its felling scheduled for April 24.
“We are very happy. We earthly beings never knew that Lord Balabhadra was here full of life .We just can’t believe our eyes. Nothing more to tell,” said a devotee choking with emotion and tears of joy rolling down his cheeks at Kanakpur.
The construction of the Sabarapalli (the camp where the Daitapatis and stotriya Brahmins will put up during the event) and the yagna mandap where the mahayagna will be held before the daru is felled is on in full swing.
“We will reach here Tuesday evening after Lord Sudarshan’s daru leaves for Puri from Gadakuntunia. On Wednesday, we will begin our rituals like mahasnana of the daru, ankuraropana etc. Next, the mahayagna will start after the customary Surya puja (worship of Sun God),” said Deula Karana (temple clerk of Shree Mandir who is part of the Banajaga team) on a visit to Kanakpur to take stock of preparations on Monday.
As per the schedule announced earlier, after the mahayagna on April 22 and 23, the daru will be felled on April 24.