JAGATSINGHPUR: The anxious wait for thousands of devotees of Lord Jagannath was over on Wednesday with the announcement of the deity’s Daru (holy neem tree) at Kharipadia under Raghunathpur block in Jagatsinghpur district.
Chief administrator of Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Suresh Mohapatra made a formal announcement to this effect on Wednesday morning after being briefed by the Dalapati of Banajaga Yatra team, Haladhara Dasmohapatra.
Suresh Mohapatra, Collector Satya Kumar Mallick and SP Sudha Singh visited Kharipadia in the morning. Barricades were erected by evening.
The holy Neem tree is located on the embankment of river Paika. There is a burial ground nearby. There are ant hills near the tree. Dasmohapatra said that the tree has the symbols of Shankha (conch), Chakra (wheel), Padma (lotus), Gada (mace) and Trishul. Apart from these, it bears the symbol of an elephant head. Prior to finalising the tree, the Banjagis visited the site six times and examined all the holy signs. The tree has four branches over the main trunk.
Kharipadia village chief Krushna Chandra Mallick said the villagers had seen two snakes moving around the tree and two white owls sitting on its branches regularly, which are considered as good omen.
The local administration has started the process of erecting Sabarapalli and Yajna Mandap at the site for the Daitapatis and Swotriya Brahmins to conduct the rituals. A club house and a thatched house near the tree have been demolished. Sand is being filled at the site for levelling the ground. Officials of Public Works department, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation wing and CESU have been directed to ensure supply of water and electricity at the spot.
During the Nabakalebara in 1996, the Banajaga team members had selected the same Daru for the idol of Lord Jagannath at Kharipadia village, but it was rejected at the last moment. Interestingly, this is the third Daru identified in the district for the Trinity after Lord Balabhadra’s Daru was found in front of Maa Sarala temple at Kanakpur and Goddess Subhadra’s at Nilakantheswar temple in Adhanga under Biridi block of the district.