JAGATSINGHPUR: Daru Chhedana (felling of holy Neem tree) for idol of Lord Balabhadra started at Kanakpur on Friday noon. After ‘Purna Ahuti’ of the Mahayajna by Swotriya Brahmins, which had started from Thursday, felling of the sacred tree in front of Sarala temple started.
The Swotriya Brahmins and Daitapatis are observing ‘nirjala’ fast (abstention from food and water) since Wednesday. They will break the fast after felling of the Daru. Earlier in the day, the gold, silver and iron axes to be used for cutting of the Neem tree were consecrated.
As per norms, Swotriya Brahmins handed over the golden axe to Bidyapati, silver axe to Biswabasu and iron axe to Biswakarma after ‘Purna Ahuti’. Cutting began after the Bidyapati touched the tree with golden axe and the Biswabasu with silver axe. The Biswakarma then began cutting the tree with an iron axe amid chanting of 108 names of the Lord.
After the tree is felled, Daitapatis would collect 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.
Thousands of people continued to throng Sarala temple for Darshan of the Balabhadra Daru for the last time before it is taken to Puri.