BHUBANESWAR: Religious fervour reached its peak at Gadakhuntunia village near here on Friday with the felling of ‘Daru’ (the holy Neem tree) for carving the idol of Lord Sudarshan, a ceremony which marked the end of first leg of Banajaga Yatra of Nabakalebara festival.
Amid hymns and chants, devotees turned up in large number to catch a glimpse of the decked-up ‘Daru’ which will soon find a place on the ‘Ratna Singhasana’ along with the Trinity in Jagannath temple at Puri.
Long queues of devotees were seen at the venue which reverberated with chanting of shlokas attributed to Lord Jagannath since early morning.
The ‘havan’ at the yajna mandap for sanctification of the ‘Daru’ resumed early in the morning and purnahuti was offered at 2.30 pm after which the felling ceremony began. The ceremony ended at around 9.30 pm.
Before commencement of felling, the Patimohapatra, Biswabasu and Biswakarma touched the ‘Daru’ with golden axe, silver axe and iron axe respectively.
Thereafter a team of servitors from the Maharana family began chopping the tree amid chanting of 108 names of God.
After the tree was felled, servitors collected the log which will be trimmed into a specific dimension for making the idol. The remains of the holy tree will be buried in a large ditch dug in the vicinity.
The log, covered with silk cloth, will be carried to the Jagannath temple in a Sagadi - cart made of Banyan, Tendu and Tamarind wood.
Earlier, ‘Ankuraropan’ (planting of seedling) ritual was conducted with the Lenka servitors touching Sudarshan Chakra to the tree after which the Swotriya Brahmins, Biswakarma, Daitapatis, Patimohapatra and Lenka servitors moved around the tree three times. The Daitapatis then purified the ‘Daru’ by pouring 108 pots of holy water.