Rath Yatra at Sarana Srikhetra in Marada temple of Ganjam district is of a different kind. The chariot here is pulled a day after those at Puri.
Though there is no religious explanation for the delay, old-timers believe that with all devotees rushing to Puri on the day, there aren’t enough left in this shrine to pull the chariot. And as a result, the nine-day sojourn gets delayed by a day.
Interestingly, there are no deities but rituals including the Car Festival are regularly performed in the Marada temple near Mathura village in Polosara block, about 50 km from Berhampur. The temple sheltered Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra for over two years more than two centuries ago.
According to the legend, the idols of Jagannath temple were shifted to Marada in 1733 and the deities were kept in Marada temple for over two years. The then architects of the village had created a cave-shaped temple for the idols to hide them from Muslim invaders. The name of the then king of Athagadapatna, Jagannath Harichandan, who had built the rock temple at Marada to protect the deities, is still remembered during rituals at the Puri temple. The temple was constructed using stones of nearby Hatibari mountain.