CUTTACK: Amidst religious fervour, the first log of wood to be used in construction of chariots for the world famous Rath Yatra (Car Festival) in Puri was cut in Government Saw Mill at Khapuria here on Sunday on the auspicious occasion of Ram Navami.
As per the tradition, three ‘Dharua’ wooden logs each of 12 ft long and 3 ft width were cut after receiving the ‘Agyanmala’ from Lord Jagannath’s temple in Puri. The sliced logs will be used to build the three chariots - Nandighosa of Lord Jagannath, Taladhwaja of Lord Balabhadra and Darpadalan of Devi Subhadra.
The ‘Agyanmala’ brought by servitors of Puri Jagannath Temple led by Temple Administrator (Ritual) Pradip Kumar Dash reached the saw mill at 6.15 am. The cutting of wood started after completion of rituals amidst recital of hymns accompanied with traditional ‘Kirtan’ at about 8 am.
Considered as an auspicious day, Ram Navami marks the beginning of the process of slicing of wooden logs at the mill. The tradition of cutting timber at the Government Saw Mill has been continuing for the last 13 years under the direct supervision of Srimandir carpenters. Usually, ‘Dharua’, ‘Phasi’, ‘Asana’ and ‘Simili’ varieties of wood are used to build the gigantic wooden chariots of the Trinity.
Over 30 labourers have been roped in to complete cutting of around 8,000 cubic feet of logs procured from Nayagarh, Boudh and Khurda divisions, informed Bhagabat Sahoo, Sub-Divisional Manager of Odisha Forest Development Corporation.
As the day of Akhay Tritiya, scheduled for commencement of construction of chariots, is inching closer, the mill employees will have to complete the work before time. Out of total 8,000 cubic feet of wood required for construction of the three chariots, the Government Saw Mill has so far received 5,400 cubic feet and the rest will arrive soon, Sahoo added.