CUTTACK: The first log of wood to be used in construction of chariots for the Rath Yatra in Puri was cut in the Government Saw Mill at Khapuria here on the auspicious occasion of Ram Navami on Saturday.
As per tradition, three ‘Dharua’ logs - each 12 feet by 3 feet - were cut after receiving the ‘Agyanmala’ from Jagannath Temple in Puri. Servitors of Jagannath Temple, led by Temple Administrator (Niti) Biswajit Biswal, brought the ‘Agyanmala’ at about 11.30 am after which a set of rituals were performed and wood cutting started at 12.30 pm.
The tradition of cutting timber in Khapuria saw mill has been continuing for the last 14 years under the direct supervision of Srimandir carpenters. Usually, Dhaura, Phasi, Asana and Simili varieties of wood are used to build the gigantic chariots.
Over 30 employees, including mechanics and labourers have been roped in to complete the cutting of around 8,000 cubic feet logs procured from Nayagarh, Boudh and Khurda forest divisions, informed Bhagabat Sahoo, Sub-divisional Manager, Odisha Forest Development Corporation.
The employees of the saw mill wait for Ram Navami every year so that they can contribute their bit to the making of chariots. The employees too follow a set of rules with respect to food and lifestyle during the entire period of cutting of wood, Sahoo said.
Of the total 8,000 cubic feet of wood required for construction of the three chariots, the saw mill has so far received 4,866 cubic feet and the rest will reach here soon, Sahoo said.
As construction of chariots begins on Akshaya Tritiya, to be celebrated on May 7, the employees will have to work overtime to achieve the target, he said.