BHUBANESWAR: Even as the three deities of Jagannath temple in Puri are all set to return to their abode on Sunday after ‘Dakshin Moda’ of the chariots, the Railways will have played a very vital role in facilitating the divine sojourn.
The placement and positioning of the three chariots as well as maintaining the distance during the journey are key to smooth conduct of the festival. To achieve this, the East Coast Railway (ECoR) had pressed into duty one senior section engineer with 40 carriage and wagon staff from its mechanical department.
Besides 32 traversing jacks, they are equipped with wooden planks and other accessories for proper positioning of the chariots.
On the Rath Yatra day, the railway staff trailed ‘Nandighosh’ to attend to any mechanical errors that could pose a problem during the chariot pulling. However, no such eventuality arose.
After arrival at Gundicha Temple, proper positioning of the chariots was also supervised by the railway staff. The repair of axle and wheel of ‘Taladhwaja’ was also facilitated by the carriage and wagon staff with jacks provided for lifting the axles.
Similarly, the ‘Dakshin Moda’ of all the three chariots was also executed by rotating chariots 180 degree using the jacks. On Sunday, all the necessary drills will be repeated to ensure that no problem is faced during ‘Bahuda Yatra’.
“While the entire process is very mechanical, it is tedious too. The Railways goes into every small detail of the mechanical issues to see that the chariot pulling and positioning processes are smooth,” Senior Coaching Depot Officer, Puri, DP Mishra said.
In fact, the Railways has been involved in this task since 1967 when the then Divisional Mechanical Engineer saw the district administration struggling to handle the breakdown of a chariot and offered help, according to former railway officer MD Sahu.