JAGATSINGHPUR:The sleepy village of Kanakpur under Tirtol block of Jagatsinghpur district woke up to thousands of devotees on Saturday, a day after the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) announced that the Daru for Lord Balabhadra is located near the Sarala temple in the village.
Braving the heat wave, devotees queued up outside the temple to offer prayer to the holy Neem tree even as the district administration started evacuation of encroachments and makeshift shops from the spot. The process is on for construction of Sabar Palli for stay of Daitapatis and Yajnashala for performing various rituals before cutting the tree.
A team of Daitapatis of the Banajaga team led by Daitapati Niyog president Ramkrushna Das Mohapatra visited the spot in the morning and interacted with the Inspector General (eastern range) of Police Asit Panigrahi, Collector Satya Kumar Mallick and SP Sudha Singh to finalise the site near the Daru where the Sabar Palli and Yajnashalla will be constructed.
The Banajaga Yatra team members are expected to reach the Sarala temple from Gadakhuntunia by Sunday to start the rituals. The tree would be consecrated by Swotriya Brahmins of the team. Before cutting the Daru, they would perform yajna amidst chanting of Vedic hymns and the Daitapatis would pour 108 pots for divine bath of the tree.
After ‘Mahayajna’ on April 22 and ‘Purna Ahuti’ next day by Swotriya Brahmins and the Gajapati Maharaj Dibya Singh Deb respectively, Daru Chhedana (felling of the holy Neem tree) will be done on April 24.
A senior servitor of Sarala temple, Harihar Raul said some priests of the temple had noticed holy signs on the tree earlier which was confirmed after visit of the Banajaga team. Raul said as per the advice of the Banajaga team, the Sarala temple servitors had demolished the ‘pindi’ around the Daru and subsequently, around 25 snakes had come out of the spot. “Not a single branch of this tree was damaged during the 1999 Super Cyclone or Phailin in 2013 and Hud Hud last year. The Neem tree is over a century old and was being worshipped by servitors of the temple. It also served as a resting shade for devotees who visited the Sarala temple,” he said.
A 65-year-old devotee from Baripada, Saraswati Sahu, who visited the site on Saturday, said it was a rare opportunity for her to see the Daru for Lord Balabhadra outside the Sarala temple. “We had come to the temple so many times in the past, but never realised that this Neem tree will one day be selected as the Daru for one of the divine siblings,” she said.
Meanwhile, Collector Mallick said temporary toilets and drinking water facilities have been made at the site where the Sabar Palli will be constructed.
“Arrangements for adequate health services, road development and round-the-clock electricity supply are being made at the site. Fifteen platoons of police force have been deployed,” he added.