PURI: The Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) is hopeful of announcing the location of Daru (the Neem trees to be used for carving out the divine idols) by April 14. The location of Daru for Sudarshan will be announced first followed by the announcement regarding location of the second Daru after a gap of seven days.
Informing this to mediapersons on Wednesday, SJTA Chief Administrator Suresh Mohapatra said till today the Daitapatis have come across around 100 probable trees with symbols embedded on their trunks which are similar to those prescribed in Nabakalebara manual that is a closely guarded document maintained by the family of Jagannath Swain Mohapatra, the chief servitor of Lord Jagannath.
As per the manual, the Neem trees should bear holy symbols like mace, lotus, conch and wheel on their trunks and should be mature enough for carving out the idols. Besides, there should be a river and a cremation ground near the tree surrounded by Sahada and Bakul trees. While the tree should not have any bird’s nest on its branches, there should be an ant hill at its base.
“In a day or two, they will shortlist 10 to 15 trees which will be once again checked by the Dalapati, Upadalapati, four Badagrahis and seniors in the Banajaga team. Subsequently, they would come down to four trees that match all the criteria prescribed in the Nabakalebara manual. The team members will inform the temple administration about the locations in writing through their Dalapati by April 12 or April 13 and we will first announce the location of Daru for Sudarshan by April 14,” Mohapatra informed. The announcement will be made only after all security arrangements for protection of the identified tree and basic facilities are made at the spot. After the group of Banajaga members complete ‘yagna’ near the short-listed tree, it will be felled and placed on a wooden cart that would be dragged back to the Jagannath temple by the Daitapatis.
Subsequently, the announcement for location of Darus for Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra will be made one after another. “The entire process of announcing the location of Darus for the Trinity, felling and bringing them to Jagannath temple will take another month,” Mohapatra added.
While the Banajaga Yatra had started on March 29, the search for the trees began three days back.
The Banajaga team members are fanning out to different places in different directions from the Deuli Mutt at Kakatpur on a daily basis by splitting themselves into small groups. Each team is led by a Badagrahi. The Shrotriya Brahmins accompanying the Banajaga team stay behind at the Kakatpur Mangala temple and Deuli Mutt and perform ‘Saptasati Chandi Patha’ besides chanting the Vedic hymns to make the search mission easier for the servitors.