Weaving sacred threads for Trinity

Since 1993, Gopinath Chandra Das and his brother Gobinda with the help of 25 families of Rautapada in Khurda district have been weaving garments for Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra round-the-year, writes Diana Sahu
Lords’ seven Khandua Patas for seven days
Lords’ seven Khandua Patas for seven days

BHUBANESWAR : Rautapada, a small weavers’ village of 400 families, shares a special bond with the Shree Jagannath temple in Puri. For the last three decades, a group of weavers of the village have been weaving clothes for Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra including the Geeta Govinda Khandua round-the-year.

The tradition was started by Gopinath Chandra Das, who is a weaver and an electrician at the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) office, and his brother Gobinda Das. In 1993, Gopinath was assigned the responsibility of weaving clothes for the Trinity by Rabinarayan Pujapanda, a senior servitor who was then responsible for procuring offerings for the deities including clothes and other paraphernalia.

Since then, the tradition remains unbroken, said 64-year-old Gopinath whose entire family is also involved in the weaving process including his 96-year-old mother Ashili Das. With the work order being a large one and needed to be delivered on time, the brothers roped in other weavers of the village for the purpose.

“Earlier, clothes for the Trinity were supplied by one weaver. I used to work in the SJTA office then and also sell Khurda gamucha beyond my work hours. When the temple started facing difficulty in timely procurement of clothes for the Trinity from the weaver, Rabinarayan Babu suggested that my family takes up the responsibility. We accepted this as Lord Jagannath’s order and have been following it since then,” he recalled.

Currently, 25 weavers’ families of the village are involved in weaving Trinity’s clothes (both cotton and silk garments) under the supervision of Gopinath and Gobinda. This year for the Rath Yatra, they are weaving 23 pieces of garments. Since, weaving for the Trinity happens all through the year, it serves as a constant source of income for the 25 families. The other weavers of the village weave silk and cotton sarees, ‘joda’ and towels. The weavers’ ancestors originally hail from Maniabandha village in Cuttack that is famous for its Khandua Pata.

Gobinda said from Akshaya Tritiya to Niladri Bije, the three deities mostly wear cotton clothes and during the remaining 10 months, they adorn silk. “Weaving for Mahaprabhu’s clothes for Rath Yatra begins from Akshaya Tritiya. During the Snana Purnima to Niladri Bije period, cotton clothes like ‘patani’, ‘boirani’, ‘malamala’, ‘netaphuta’, ‘gadipheta’, ‘tanakasa’, ‘adhara gamucha’, ‘bara hati gada’, ‘sola hati gada’, ‘nali cheheli’, ‘haladia cheheli’, ‘nelia cheheli’ are used for the Trinity. Only on Khali Lagi Ekadasi, all the seven deities on Ratna Simhasana - the Holy Trinity and Sridevi, Bhudevi, Sudarsan and Madhav - wear the Geeta Govinda Khandua,” he explained. Cotton, for the purpose, is procured from local markets in Khurda.

After Niladri Bije, the deities are draped in Geeta Govinda Khandua Pata during the Badasinghara Besha every night till the next Akshaya Tritiya. In the mornings, the deities wear seven colours of Khandua Pata on seven days of a week. “There is a uniform design for all these seven colours of Khandua Pata, which is primarily ‘kumbha’. It enhances the beauty of the Trinity,” Gopinath added.

Since the last one year, Gopinath and Gobinda have been using ‘Karuna Silk’ or cruelty-free silk for weaving Geeta Govinda Khandua for the Trinity.

In fact, the Handlooms and Textiles department piloted its ‘Karuna Silk’ project in Rautapada and it was Gopinath and Gobinda who wove the first set of Khandua Pata with Karuna Silk for Lord Jagannath last year. After Karuna Silk, the Lords’ weavers are now thinking of using natural dyes for colouring the fabrics. And NABARD has offered to help them in the initiative.


Monday - Dhala Chita (Motifs on White)

Tuesday - Bara Patia (12 coloured stripes)

Wednesday - Nila (Green)

Thursday - Haladia (Yellow)

Friday - Dhala Sadha (Plain White)

Saturday - Kala (Black)

Sunday - Nali (Red)

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