SONEPUR: The Patali Srikhetra at Kotsamalai under Birmaharajpur sub-division in the district is yet to get a temple of the three divine siblings. The idols continue to be worshipped in a makeshift temple atop Trikut hill.
Legend has it that the idols of the deities of Jagannath temple in Puri were kept hidden in the caves of Trikut for 144 years during the invasion of Muslim General Raktavahu.
According to Madala Panzi, during the invasion of Odisha by Raktabahu in 4th century AD, the then ruler Shoven Dev secretly shifted the three idols from Puri temple to a secured place in far away Sonepur. The deities were kept underground near a ‘Peepal’ tree at a place called Gopali. After 144 years, another Hindu ruler Yayati Keshari retrieved and reinstalled the idols in Puri temple.
When the fact came to light, a team of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and State Archaeology visited the spot and testified the linkage of Patali Srikhetra with Srikhetra and also found archaeological properties of pre-historic importance. Subsequently, a small temple was built atop the hill and the Patali Srikhetra Action Committee (PSAC) installed the idols of the Trinity, which the Puri temple administration had given them in 2011, after Bigraha puja.
Puri Gajapati Divya Singhdeb had also visited the spot and called upon people to stop consumption of non-vegetarian food and liquor in the area. The Puri temple administration also decided to construct a Jagannath temple at Patali Srikhetra and sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra was roped in for the purpose.
Although Mohapatra submitted a proposed design of the temple at Patali Srikhetra, it is pending approval of Sri Jagannath Temple Administration, Puri Gajapati and State Government. Mohapatra had estimated the project cost at around ` four crore.
General secretary of the Sri Patali Khetra Trust Purna Chandra Padhi said though all the rituals here are performed as per the Jagannath temple in Puri, there is neither any temple for the deities nor amenities for devotees.
There is no motorable approach road to the Patali Srikhetra. Though the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) was assigned to build pucca stairs to the hill-top temple, the work was left half-way after construction of 90 stairs.
Padhi said the trust manages to draw water from a borewell at the foothill for cooking ‘prasad’ and other works, but there are no basic amenities for the tourists and devotees. “We have limited resources, but we manage to offer ‘Anna Bhoga’ to the deities with the donations,” Padhi added.