Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 13:
Devotees and curious onlookers alike have been descending in hundreds at the spot in Gadakuntunia village under Balakati block on the outskirts of Odisha capital where the daru (neem tree) selected for the idol of Lord Sudarshan is located.
People have been streaming in since the wee hours on Sunday, soon after the formal announcement about the location of the daru for Lord Sudarshan was made around midnight on Saturday.
Religious fervour has been running high at this otherwise non-descript village with sankirtan mandalis singing bhajans and kirtans (paeans to the Lord) to the beats of cymbals and mridangas.
People have been lighting diyas (wicker lamps) outside the barricade around the daru and are seen paying obeisance to the daru by lying prostrate before it.
The administration and police have taken necessary measures for protection of the daru and for its darshan by devotees in a disciplined manner, crowd management being the toughest challenge.
Preparations are in full swing for the setting up of Sabara palli (the camp where the Banajaga Yatris will stay) and the yagna mandap. Local volunteers have cleared up the area around the daru of anthills and undergrowth.
According to information provided by the dalapati (team leader) of the Banajaga Yatra team, who was at Gadakuntunia this morning, the entire Banajaga Yatra team with Daitapatis, stotriya Brahmins, Biswakarmas, Biswabasu and others will leave Deuli Mutt in Kakatpur and arrive at Gadakuntunia tomorrow afternoon.
After receipt of agyanmala (go ahead) from the Shree Jagannath Temple, yagna will start from the April 16th morning. The tree will be felled after purnaahuti, the ceremonial completion of yagna, the dalapati informed.
“A lot of progress has been made since yesterday, the area has been cleared and the tree has been barricaded, work on the yagna griha is underway and construction of ankuraropan griha will begin soon. These works will be completed by tonight. Arrangements have also been made for the stay of our Daitapati brothers. The ankuraropan (planting of seedling) ritual, which involves bathing of the daru in 108 gara (pots) of water, will take place day after tomorrow (Wednesday). The daru will then be draped in a cloth and the agyanmala obtained from Lord Sudarshan in Puri will be offered to the tree,” said Haladhara Das Mohapatra, dalapati of Banajaga team talking to
reporters at Gadakuntunia village today.
After ankuraropan, the next ritual called barana ritual (reception with utmost respect) of the tree will take place. On Wednesday night the mandals for the yagna, kalash etc. will be readied in the yagna griha. On the morning of April 16, arrangements will be made for the yagna which will begin later the same day. After the completion of purnaahuti on April 17, the tree will be felled, the dalapati said.
“The tree will be first touched by gold and silver axes before being felled using iron axes. Locals after having havishyanna at their homes and dressing in new clothes, the local people can volunteer for participation in the chopping of the tree. Once the cutting is over, the log will be carried on a four-wheeled sagadi (cart) – prepared from wood either of tendu, tamarin or banayan tree – to Puri. The daru (log) will be placed on the sagadi draped in seven layers of covering and will be tied with silk ropes made available from the Shree Mandir. People using these ropes will drag the sagadi to Puri to the sounds of gongs, conches and trumpets,” Das Mohapatra said.
Das Mohapatra said members of the Banajaga team who accompany the daru to Puri would not join back with the Banajaga team while other members of the Banajaga team will leave for the location of the daru for Lord Balabahadra’s idol.