PURI: Daitapatis in the Banajaga Yatra team on Sunday went in four directions from the Deuli Mutt in search of the ‘Darus’ (Neem trees required for carving of new idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Sudarshan) after the divine prophesy from Goddess Mangala, the presiding deity of Kakatpur.
Daitapatis of the Banajaga team split into four groups and each group was headed by Badagrahi (body protector) of the four deities. While the Daitapatis were out in search of the Neem trees bearing holy symbols, the Swotrya Brahmins accompanying the Banajaga team stayed behind at the Kakatpur Mangala temple and performed Saptasati Chandi Patha besides chanting the Vedic hymns to make the search mission easier for the servitors.
Sources in the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) said during the search operation, the Daitapatis came across a few Neem trees with symbols embedded on their trunks that appeared similar to those prescribed in Nabakalebara manual. “But we cannot be sure about the actual trees on the first day. The Daitapatis will continue their search operation and a final call on the actual trees will be taken only after a meeting among themselves and the temple administration,” said an official of the SJTA.
The Nabakalebara manual 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. After their search, the Daitapatis will return to the Deuli Mutt everyday before evening.
After the trees are located, their trunks would be taken on wooden carts pulled by the Daitapatis and other members of the Banajaga Yatra group to the Puri temple. The logs will be kept at Koili Vaikuntha inside the temple.
The old idols of the deities will be buried and the new ones made at Koili Vaikuntha. While three senior most wood carvers will be the main sculptors for the idol of Lord Jagannath, six others will sculpture the idols of Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra. More than 50 others will assist and also carve Sudarshan. The process would continue for 21 days.