Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Mar 22:
The team for the Banajaga Yatra, the first chapter of the Nabakalebara festival in Odisha’s pilgrim town of Puri, was announced by the Shri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) on Saturday evening.
The team consisting of 96 servitors of Shri Jagannath temple will be led by senior servitor Haladhar Dasmohapatra as dalapati (leader). It would be accompanied by 16 Stotriya Brahmins, four chief architects (Biswakarma), Patimohapatra, Lenka, Deulakarana and Tadhaukarana servitors.
Sources in the temple said the team leader will recommend the names of the upadalapati (deputy leader), Biswabasu and Bidyapati to the SJTA for its approval in consultation with the office-bearers of the Daitapati Nijog.
The Banajaga team will leave for Mangala temple at Kakatpur on March 29 in search of daru (log) for the making of the new images of the Lords for the ensuing Nabakalebara Rath Yatra scheduled on June 18.
Earlier in the day, the Puri Gajapati Maharaja Divyasingh Dev had a two-round meeting with the Banajaga team members and advised the Stotriya Brahmins to perform the Banajaga yajna at the Deuli Math as per the prescribed procedure. He asked them to perform the recitation of hymns of Lord Nrushingha.
The Gajapati Maharaja also urged the team members to adhere to the Banajaga rules during the search for daru during the yatra as per tradition.
However, some senior daitapati servitors, present at the meeting, raised the decision of the Shri Jagannath Temple Managing Committee not allowing the devotees for the Nabajoubana darshan of the Lords during Nabakalabara.
SJTA officials assured them that they would reconsider the decision in this regard.