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Puri Ratha Yatra 2005 - preps, ...

nabadip - Thu, 09 Jun 2005 00:38:36 +0530
Chariots of gods on course

Statesman News Service

BHUBANESWAR, June 7. — The construction of chariots of Lord Jagannath and his siblings is on in full swing at Puri for the world-famous annual car festival, scheduled to be held on 8 July.

The construction is expected to be completed by next week, officials of the temple administration informed the 3rd coordination meeting, chaired by law minister, Mr Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, at Puri to review the preparations.

It had been affected due to a cease-work by the traditional carpenters, fuelling apprehension that the construction may not be complete by the D-day.
The carpenters had stopped work demanding a share of timber being used for construction of chariots for their domestic consumption.

However, the matter was resolved and the carpenters resumed their work yesterday following intervention by the temple administration.
It has been decided that the carpenters will get the waste/surplus wood.

It was revealed from the review undertaken by the law minister today that of the total 42 wheels of three chariots belonging to Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra, construction of 16 wheels had already been complete.
Timbers required for construction of chariots were provided by the Nayagarh and Khurda forest divisions. Besides, several devotees donated timbers for the purpose, who were felicitated by the law minister today.

There has been a scarcity of timbers belonging to species such as asana, dhaura and phasi, required for construction of chariots, prompting the state government to launch a plantation project called “Jagannath Vana Prakalpa”. This year, the wooden breaks will be changed and the pulleys will be replaced with the ones weighing three-ton each.

Procurement of materials like cloths, sandal wood, ropes etc required for making of chariots has been complete. Cloths of different colours have been procured from the Mumbai-based Century Cotton Mills.

Progress of sanitation, public health, construction of roads, clearance of drains, disinfection of water sources, power supply, construction of temporary bus stands, traffic control etc were reviewed today.

Among others, the Speaker of state Assembly and local MLA, Mr Maheswar Mohanty, local MP, Mr Braja Tripathy, home secretary Mr Santosh
Kumar, chief administrator, Puri Jagannath Temple, Mr Suresh Mohapatra, Puri district magistrate, Mr AK Das, SP, Mr Soumendra Priyadarshi, and senior officers of other departments were present at the coordination meeting.
nabadip - Tue, 28 Jun 2005 23:44:44 +0530
Special packages for Car festival

Pioneer News Service / Bhubaneswar

The Orissa Tourism Development Corporation will launch a special tour package on the occasion of Car festival on July 8.

Through this package, tourists and devotees from Cuttack, Bhubaneswar and Sambalpur will be able to enjoy the Car festival.

For tourists of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, it is a one-day package, while for those coming from Sambalpur, it is a two-day and one-night package. For easy viewing, the OTDC has also made a sitting arrangement on the terrace of Raj Bhawan.

"The package was quite successful in the twin-city last year. The response from Sambalpur was not very encouraging. But, this year, we are expecting a better response," said Santos Sarangi, director, Tourism Department.

The OTDC package is priced modestly and includes breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and snacks.

Tourists from Bhubaneswar and Cuttack will pay Rs1,000 per head for adults and Rs 700 per head for children, while tourists from Sambalpur will pay Rs 1,470 per head for adults and Rs 1,170 for children.

There are also three-night and four-day packages from Bhubaneswar, which will cover places like Konark, Raghurajpur, Puri, Satapada and Bhubaneswar.

A 11-night and 11-day package from Sambalpur will enable tourists to enjoy all the rituals of Lord Jagannath during the Car festival and conclude with the Bahuda Jatra.

nabadip - Thu, 30 Jun 2005 17:23:22 +0530
Temple monkeys to be shifted to forests

Manoranjan Mohapatra / Puri
The Pioneer, Delhi

The Car Festival Coordination Committee at a meeting on Wednesday decided to evacuate monkeys from the temple premises to forests in Orissa.

Help would be sought from the Nandankanan Zoo authorities to shift around 500 monkeys in the first phase, the committee decided.

Stray bulls, often seen in Puri, would also be removed on the eve of the festival. NGOs help would be taken to meet expenses on their fodder.

Chief Administrator of Jagannath Temple Suresh Mohapatra said cabins and temporary shops on the stretch between Singhadwara and the Town Police station would be removed to ensure free movement of devotees.

For the first time, the Sunabesa of the Lord will start at 5 in the evening.

The meeting also decided that doctors and health personnel during the Car Festival would wear aprons to facilitate identification.

Two companies of Rapid Action Police Force would be deployed for maintaining law and order in the temple city.

The meeting was presided over by RDC (Central Division), Nikunja Kishore Rai. Among others, Puri Collector Aswinin Kumar Das, SP Soumendra Priyadarshi and temple Sevayats attended the meeting.

Madhava - Fri, 01 Jul 2005 05:06:30 +0530
They used to do live video feeds didn't they? Any info on that?
dasanudas - Fri, 01 Jul 2005 06:54:17 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ Jun 30 2005, 06:36 PM)
They used to do live video feeds didn't they? Any info on that?

Yes live telecast of RathaYatra from Puri will be broadcasted on Indian National Channel live , it is shown every year.

In Orisa Ratha Yatra will be covered from very beginning to end on the day of Reverse Yatra and after return from Gundicha Temple Jagannatha Dev will wait for three day's out side puri temple to give darshana to everybody. There will be Abhishek with Golden Dress with Jagantha's Golden hand and feet. Only during this time Jagannath is available to devotees in this dress.
nabadip - Sat, 02 Jul 2005 00:07:15 +0530
So that ailing Lords don't get disturbed

MR Mohapatra/ Puri
The Pioneer, Bhubaneshwar

Car festival authorities have banned marriage processions, band parties and cracker-bursting near the Jagannath temple (Meghanada Pacheri) in Puri during Anabasar when Lord Jagannath along with brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra catch fever and take rest at the Srimandir.

The decision was taken at the preparatory meeting of the Car Festival on Friday. This was a long-standing demand of the Sevayatas, who wanted the authorities to ensure that the ailing Lords are not disturbed during the festival fortnight. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik presided over the meeting at the Puri Collector's office.

Mr Patnaik expressed confidence that the festival will be conducted peacefully by sevayats and blessings of the Lord.

Among others present at the meeting were Law Minister Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, Revenue Minister Manmohan Samal, Tourism Minister Suryanarayan Patro, Health Minister Bijaysri Routray, PWD Minister AU Singdeo, Speaker Maheswar Mohanty and DGP Suchit Das.

nabadip - Wed, 06 Jul 2005 06:36:17 +0530
Chariot ride in fortress Puri

Binoculars on rooftops and closed-circuit TV cameras scanning the roads. Metal detectors at the temple gates and plainclothes police on the premises.

After today’s militant strike in Ayodhya, the state government is taking no chances with Lord Jagannath’s annual chariot ride through the streets of Puri on Friday.
nabadip - Wed, 06 Jul 2005 22:00:19 +0530
Security to be stepped up in Puri

Statesman News Service

BHUBANESWAR, July 5. - Security will be beefed up in Puri for the ensuing car festival, scheduled on 8 July and a close vigil will be maintained at strategic places across the state after the terrorist attack in Ayodhya today.

Sharp shooters in plain clothes and two platoons of specially trained Rapid Action Force personnel of the CRPF will be deployed during the car festival at Puri to counter any possible terrorist attack.

Talking to reporters here today, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said special security arrangements would be made at Puri in the backdrop of the Ayodhya incident. Appropriate measures will be taken, including intensifying security arrangements at sensitive places of the state after reviewing the situation, he said.

Home Secretary Santosh Kumar and DGP, Mr Suchit Das, reviewed the overall security scenario of the state and the arrangements at Puri for the car festival where lakhs of devotees and tourists would congregate.

All the Superintendents of Police across the state have been put on alert after the Ayodhya incident and asked to keep extra vigil on sensitive places to prevent any terrorist attack and subsequent communal backlash, said the Home Secretary.
The security arrangements will be beefed up at Puri with a special emphasis on “actionable intelligence” to track the terrorist groups and gather information on their plan of action, he said, adding that sophisticated and highly efficient communication gadgets would be installed.

Sharp shooters armed with small weapons like MP rifles will be deployed at the car festival venue, said Mr Kumar.Additionally, sixty-one platoons of the Orissa State Armed Polic and Armed Police Reserve forces will be deployed.

The DGP, Mr Das, visited Puri today to supervise the security drill. Additional DG, Mr Amarananda Patnaik, will remain in overall charge of security and law and order arrangements at Puri. At least 500 police officers, 1,000 constables and 900 Home Guards will be on duty to maintain law and order. A senior police officer requesting anonymity said the police top brass were not much worried over security arrangements at Puri since there was remote possibility of a terrorist strike in the ancient pilgrimage town.

Terrorists generally strike with local support. But the locals at Puri who believe in the spirit of communal harmony are unlikely to back the ultras and Muslim fundamentalist elements, he said.

“What has worried us is the possibility of retaliation by Hindu fundamentalists in case of any attack in the districts leading to communal tension,” the official said.
nabadip - Fri, 08 Jul 2005 17:04:20 +0530
Hotels, lodgings and mutts have been intensively searched and rooftops around the temple and along the grand road were kept under close surveillance.

This apart, special task force personnel equipped with bomb disposal units would guard all entry points to the city. Sniffer dogs were being used to detect hidden explosives while snipers were on alert to face any eventualities.

nabadip - Fri, 08 Jul 2005 17:09:09 +0530
Puri ready to don festive colours

Statesman News Service

PURI, July 7. — More than 5 lakh devotees have arrived here to witness the world famous rath yatra (car festival) of Lord Jagannath tomorrow while the administration was busy giving final shape to preparations.

The security arrangements were beefed up with the deployment of two platoons of Rapid Action Force, sniffer dogs and bomb-disposal squads. The pilgrim town has turned into a police contingent with 61 platoons of Orissa State Armed Police and Armed Police Reserve having been deployed to maintain law and order. Additional DG, Mr Amarananda Patnaik is camping on the spot to supervise security arrangements.

Intelligence personnel in plainclothes have been deployed on roof tops of buildings near the Jagannath temple, at other strategic points and public places like the railway station and bus stand.

District and temple administration officials said more than 10 lakh devotees were expected to congregate tomorrow to witness the car festival. An estimated 5 lakh devotees thronged the 12th cenury temple for “darshan” of Jagannath, Balbhadra and Subhadra after their recovery from “illness” for the last 15 days.

Huge wooden chariots of the three deities were brought down to the temple entrance and kept ready for tomorrow’s journey.

The East Coast Railway has arranged 12 special trains and extended the route of another five trains to carry passengers here, Railway officials said. Similarly, special permits have been issued to additional 100 buses apart from the normal 200 buses plying daily.
nabadip - Fri, 08 Jul 2005 17:13:44 +0530
here is the address for live Telecast
nabadip - Fri, 08 Jul 2005 17:24:22 +0530
For those unable to download the live telecast (or late-comers), here are photos and video-clips from Ratha Yatra 2003
Madhava - Fri, 08 Jul 2005 18:44:40 +0530
I'm recording the live stream as I don't have the time to watch it right now. I don't know if they plan to make it available for download themselves.

It doesn't seem to be live any more - it's a regular stream that starts always from the same place. Or otherwise, you can jump into the future in their live broadcast.
nabadip - Fri, 08 Jul 2005 20:59:55 +0530
It seems to be just a review of the day, as it would be night there in India by now.
nabadip - Sat, 09 Jul 2005 20:03:26 +0530
Lakhs pull the Lord's Rath

Manoranjan Mohapatra/ Puri
The Pioneer

The world famous Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath passed off peacefully here on Friday amid unprecedented security arrangements in the city. More than seven lakh devotees from across the globe witnessed the festival amid the chanting of "haribol" and "hulahuli".

Coming in the wake of the terrorist attack on the Ram Janmabhoomi complex in Ayodhya on Tuesday and the subsequent alert sounded by the Centre, the authorities did not take any chances on the security arrangements. As many as 65 platoons of police force, including six platoons of Rapid Action Force, were deployed in Puri.

For the first-time spotters, Coast Guards, sharp shooters and sniffer dogs were used to ensure fool-proof security during the festival. In yet another first, close-circuit cameras were also used to monitor suspicious movements. More than 500 police officers were pressed into action.

After completion of Mangalaarati, Abakash and Sakaladhupa of the deities, the Pohandi of Sudarshan started at 9.30 am from the sanctum sanctorum (Ratna Singhasan) followed by that of Lord Balabhadra, Lord Jagannath and Devi Subhadra that continued till 12 noon.

Madanmohan, the chalanti pratima of Lord Jagannath, landed up in Nandighosh, the chariot of Lord Jagannath, after which Chitalagi ritual of the three deities was performed. Following this, Gajapatima-haraja Dibyasingha Deva came in a royal procession to perform the Chera Pahara.

This was followed by the opening of charamala from the chariots. Horses and charioteers were tied to the three chariots. Taladhwaja, the chariot of Lord Balabhadra, was pulled first under the guidance of Puri SP Soumendra Priyadarshi which was followed by the chariot of Devi Subhadra's Darpadalana under the guidance of the Additional District Magistrate Promod Kumar Pani at 3.45pm.

Nandighosh, the chariot of Lord Jagannath, was pulled under the guidance of District Magistrate Aswini Kumar Das towards Gundicha Temple with the assistance of sevayats.

Governor Rameswar Thakur, Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik and his Cabinet colleagues were present at the festival. Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts and Union Tourism Minister Renuka Choudhury were among those who witnessed the yatra.

The Shankaracharya of Govardhana Peeth witnessed the deities with his disciples after the arrival of the three deities in their respective chariots.

All 28 mathas of Puri were involved in various services during the festival.

The district administration and the police department ensured proper sanitary measures, including drinking water and food for about three lakh devotees. Voluntary organisations like Bharat Sevashram Sangha, Aditya Bahini, Satya Sai Seva Samiti, Puri Seva Samiti, Puri Collectorate Red Cross, State Red Cross, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Ramakrishna Mission, Rotary Club, Lions Club, St John Ambulance and other social organisations served the devotes.

nabadip - Sun, 10 Jul 2005 02:08:33 +0530
Waiting for the Lord to return...

Statesman News Service
BERHAMPUR, July 8. - The empty Srimandir of Puri will wait till Bahuda Yatra on 16 July for the return of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra, the deities who made their annual sojourn to the Gundicha temple today, but the empty Jagannath temple at Marda in Ganjam district has waited for more than 270 years without any hope of getting the deities back.

This temple happens to be witness to the dark ages of the former Kalinga kingdom, now known as Orissa, when even the pride of Oriyas, the deities of Srimandir of Puri faced the threat of desecration at the hands of Muslim invaders.
The temple was built in the 18th century, the king of Puri had to hide the idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan to save them from being desecrated. Later the deities were returned to Puri.

But the King of Athagada dynasty of Ganjam who had the temple built at Marda to provide shelter to the most revered deities of Oriyas, did not instal any deities at the temple.

Once a shelter for the Lord of Srikhetra

The Marda temple still bears an empty inner sanctum in remembrance of the fact that it had once housed the idols of the Jagannath temple of Puri.

The Athagada King was surely different as he preferred to keep the Marda temple empty rather than placing new deities in it and making it an established Jagannath temple of the region of which he and his descendants could take pride in.

According to historians, it was the then Gajapati king of Puri, Ram Chandra Dev, who asked for help from the then Athagada king, Jagannath Harichandan Jagdev, to hide the deities of Puri in 1733.

The King decided to build a temple in a short time to shelter the deities at Marda, a short distance from Atahgadapatna in the jungles, so that the enemies would not notice it.

Marda is 50 km from Berhampur. One has to drive on a narrow rural road by the banks of a canal and walk a few hundred metres to reach the temple.

The deities remained in hiding at the newly built temple for about six months and were then returned to the Srijagannath temple in Puri.

The people of Ganjam have blind faith that one day the deities will return to Marda from Puri.

The Marda temple has been taken over by the Archaeological Survey of India for safekeeping as a historic monument.
Every morning a priest goes to the temple to offer some flowers to the empty altar. On the occasions of Makar Sankranti and Dhanu Sankranti festivals are held by the local people with the present descendants of the Atahagada royal family. The rest of the time, the temple remains almost deserted. It bears no resemblance to the mighty Srimandir of Puri.

Although small in comparison, yet architecturally it rather resembles the Gundicha temple in Puri. As the temple was built in a hurry, in secret, it has less carvings and sculptures on its outer walls. But it adheres to the temple architectural pattern of Orissa.

Around the main temple there are remnants of small temples where deities like Hanuman and Shiva are worshipped. At a distance, there is the idol of Bimala which is still worshipped. Marda is also called Sharana Srikhetra. Srikhetra is the other name of Puri and Sharana means “protective shelter” in Oriya. The Marda temple is still recognised as the temple that provided shelter to the lord of Srikhetra.
nabadip - Sun, 17 Jul 2005 01:47:25 +0530
Lakhs witness Lord's return journey, 25 hurt

Manoranjan Mohapatra / Puri , Pioneer

Lakhs of devotees witnessed the return journey of the Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra from the Gundicha Mandir to the Sri Mandir here on Thursday. The trinity, after sojourning in the Gundicha temple for nine days, returned to the main temple.

The return journey, known as Bahuda, started on Saturday with rituals like mangala arati, abakash and besha. The pahandis (processions) of Lord Sudarsan started at 11.30 am followed by that of other deities.

The customary chera pahara (sweeping) of three chariots by Maharaja Dibyasinghadev was complete by 3.30 pm after which horses and sarathis were yoked to chariots for the grand return journey.

Taladhwaja, the chariot of Balabhadra, with jerks and jest, started moving on the grand road towards Sri Mandir, followed by the ratha Devidalana of Devi Subhadra and Nandighosa of Lord Jagannath. However, no chariots reached the lion gate of the Sri Mandir on Saturday.

However, the grand procession was halted for about 40 minutes when ropes of Jagannath's Rath broke five times during the day. More than 25 devotees were injured in the incident.

The district authorities made tight security arrangements to ensure a hassle-free bahudayatra. DGP Mr. Suchit Das personally supervised the security arrangement. As in the Rath Yatra, the district authorities ensured full-proof security. More than 25 voluntary organisations provided free foods to devotees.

The famous Laxminarayan veta (meeting of Jagannatha with Laxmi) near the chariot of Lord Jagannath will be performed at Rajanahar on Sunday when the Lord will face the ire of his spouse for not taking her in the grand journey. The famous Suna besha of the deities will be made on Monday night.

nabadip - Mon, 18 Jul 2005 12:44:58 +0530
8 lakh devotees to witness Sunavesa today

PK Mishra / Puri , The Pioneer

On their return from Sri Gundicha temple on Monday, Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra will be ceremonially adorned with various gold ornaments while still on their chariots in front of the Singhadwara.

This decoration or Sunavesa will continue for a few hours outside the Sri Mandir to enable numerous devotees to have a darshan of the deities. One of the annual 24 ceremonial vesas of Lord Jagannath, Sunavesa is also known as Bada Tadhau vesa. Other Sunavesas of the deities are held inside the Sri Mandir on three occasions - Vijaya Dasami, Karttika Purnima and Pausa Purnima.

The Sunavesa is believed to have been started in the thirteenth century by Maharaja Ananga Bhima Deb, who besides granting numerous landed properties, had donated 2,50,000 marh (1 marh=1/2, Tola =70 grains=5.8319 grams) of gold for preparing ornaments for the Lord.

The Suryabansi Maharajas of Orissa followed in his footsteps and further enriched the Ratna Bhandar of Lord Jagannath with many decorative ornaments. Since then, as a token of homage to the Lord as Raj Rajeswara (King of kings), as per the Madalapanji - the most authenticated Daily Diary of the Sri Mandir and Lord Jagannath since twelfth century - in this vesa, all the deities are adorned with gold ornaments of different sizes and designs. While Lord Jagannath is decked up in sri payara, sribhuja, kiriti, odiani, ghagada, mali, kadamba mali, golden charka and silver sankha, Sri Balabhadra is decorated with sripayar, sribhuja, odiani, kundala, chandra surya, ghagada mali, plough and mess. Devi Subhadra is adorned with kirita, kana, chandra surya, ghagada mali, kadamba mali and sevati mali. It is believed that all gods and goddesses come down to earth from heaven to see the beauty sight of Lord Jagannath in Sunavesa.

Necklaces worn by the deities are modelled on flowers such as Padma, Sevati, Champa and Parijata. The most precious gem-studded gold ornaments worn by the deities are Sri Chita. The deities are decorated by servitors Khuntia, Singhari and Mekapa, who are also entrusted with the responsibility of dressing up the deities daily in the Sri Mandir.About 8 lakh people are expected to visit Puri to witness the Sunavesa and to have a glimpse of the deities in their royal dresses from close quarters.

nabadip - Wed, 20 Jul 2005 02:30:10 +0530
A special dish for Lord Jagannath

PK Mishra / Puri , The Pioneer

After the long and strenuous Sri Gundicha Yatra, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath were offered with the most pious and refreshing drink, the adharapana, on Sunday evening. This is a specially prepared drink offered in nine huge earthen containers kept in front of deities which touches their lips and for which this offering is called adhara (lips) pana (drink).

The pots are prepared according to height of the deities and three of them are kept in front of the chariots. Two small pots filled with the pana are kept before Rama Krishna near Lord Balabhadra for bhoga.

The adharapana is prepared with cheese, lump sugar, cream, bananana, milk, black pepper powder, camphor, numeg and water in accordance with the process called Maha Pancha Ratna Bidhi.

This offering is a must without which the deities cannot enter the SriMandira.The most significant moment was when after offering the bhog, all pots filled with adharapana were immediately broken and the contents flown down to ground through the chariots. It is believed that this is done to enable spirits, ogre, demon from going inside the temple.

The preparation of adharapana bhoga is entrusted to three institutions - the Raghavadas Math, the Bada Odia Math and Sri Jagannath Temple Management Trust. This custom of offering the adharapana started more that 450 years ago in the middle of the 16th Century AD.return journey
nabadip - Thu, 21 Jul 2005 09:37:08 +0530
Lord returns to his throne

Pioneer News Service / Puri

Lord Jagnnath, Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra on Wednesday entered the Sri Mandir. After customary rituals, the niladree bije of the three deities started when they were brought from their chariots in glorious procession named dhadipahandi to the sanctum sanctorium. Before the deities returned to the temple, they were given a delicious drink called adharapana.

nabadip - Mon, 25 Jul 2005 23:23:43 +0530
Lord's kitchen back in business

Prasanna Mishra / Puri, The Pioneer

Now that the Lord is back to his jewelled throne in the Sri Mandir after sojourning in the Gundica temple for 9 days, the temple kitchen, known as roshaghar, which wore a deserted look, is back in action. The mahaprasad, more popularly known as the Neelachala abhada was made available at Ananda Bazar to all on Thursday.

Sri Mandir Roshaghar is unique in its style. At present, there are 266 chulhas, all made of clay and are in shape of lotus flower where more than 56 items (popularly known as chhappan bhoga) are being prepared and served everyday. Earthen pots are supplied to the temple by a group of potters, known as Kumbhara, who stay in the towns' bylane, named after them.

Furthermore, the water used for cooking is brought from two specified wells known as the Ganga and Yamuna which are in the Sri Mandir premises. However, as reported, there is water scarcity at present due to the renovation work being carried out in the well.

Cooking in Roshaghara is a delight to watch. The earthen pots known as Kudua are filled with water, rice, all vegetables or dal etc, but without any spices added. They are kept on chullas in pyramid shape one above the other. On each fireplace, 5 posts are kept on fire carefully resting and balancing with each other's side. Then 3 pots kept on their top in the same manner and the last one on the top of all. Thus, food inside the pot is cooked and it is strange that the one on the top is cooked first! The kitchen-hall is lighted by sunlight only and sometimes clay lamps are used as and when required.

About 600 suars (temple cooks) and 400 of their associates prepare food daily which cater to 25,000 people with maximum capacity for 1 lakh at a time. In the last five days of the holy month of Kartika last year, the kitchen provided mahaprasad to about 2 to 3 lakh people.

nabadip - Thu, 28 Jul 2005 16:02:36 +0530
After Yatra, Badadanda turns make-shift market again

Prasanna Kumar Mishra / Puri , The Pioneer

Now that the Rath Yatra is over, the Badadanda (Grand Road), a 2 mile stretch from the Lions Gate of Sri Mandir to Sri Gundichha Temple, has once again turned to a makeshift market place.

The 60- metre-wide road at Lions Gate which widened up to 150- metre in the middle, has again been occupied by stalls, mobile shops, telephone booths, road-side vendors, permanent parking place for buses and cycle rickshaws etc. leaving a narrow stretch for movement of vehicles.

As you walk through the spectacular road to the grand temple, you tend to wonder whether you are visiting one of the finest temples ever built or going through a makeshift bazaar.

The centre declared it a part of NH 5- A and metalled the entire stretch, depriving devotees the holy dust of the Badadanda. However, The National Highway authorities have left out a small patch of metalled road with about 50- metre in front of the Nakachana Dwar (the outer grate) near Sri Gundicha temple and filled the area with sea-sands and marked the same as Saradha Bali.

The Saradha Bali is the sacred sand remains of the earlier river named Malini Bankimuhana or the Saradha as described differently by historians, which was flowing in the town from west to east dividing the holy Sri Kshetra to two divisions.

In the past, two sets of three chariots each, were made. One set remained on one side of the river and other set on the other side of the river. The deities had to be crossed over the river by boat. King Narasimha Dev realised the problem and ordered to fill up the river in 13th century.

The historic Bada Danda is now overcrowded by make-shift bazaars. The government and temple authorities must do the needful to restore the sanctity of the Saradha bali and Bada Danda.