Relief for Odisha govt as Mangala temple servitors relent

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Mar 25:

The Odisha government today heaved a huge sigh of relief as servitors of Maa Mangala temple at Kakatpur, who had earlier threatened to boycott the Banajaga Yatra, decided to cooperate with the Banajaga team after they were assured of being paid their pending dues by the Shri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA).

Maa Mangala temple in Kakatpur (Pic Courtesy:
Maa Mangala temple in Kakatpur
(Pic Courtesy:

With this, the month-long row over the issue, which had put a question mark on the smooth passage of the Banajaga Yatra, has finally come to an end.

Meanwhile, with just four days left for the Banajaga team to set out on its mission in search of daru (log) for the making fo the images of the deities, the SJTA today conducted the health check-up of the team members to ensure that they are in good health during the one-and half month journey.

“We have informed all the team members that the temple administration would not allow anyone if he is suffering from serious illness. Besides, any member having minor health problem should voluntarily withdraw his name from the team,” SJTA chief administrator Suresh Chandra Mohapatra told the media here.

The Banajaga yatris, during their journey, will cover a distance of about 60 km by foot under the scorching sun. During the journey, the members will perform a series of rituals at Deuli Math and Maa Mangala temple at Kakatpur after which they would move out in search of daru.

Keeping these hectic itineraries in mind, the temple administration conducted their health check-up at its office inside the temple premises by a team of doctors.

“During the check-up, we found that one of the members is having a cardiac problem while another member has been diagnosed as a diabetic. We have advised them to go for a detailed check-up,” said Dr Girija Shankar Behera, a senior doctor of the district headquarters hospital here.

“The temple administration has taken a good step by conducting the health check-up of the Banajaga team. If anyone is having health problem, he should be left out,” said Jitendra Dasmohapatra, a temple servitor.

A total of 41 Banajaga yatris underwent health check-up on the first day of the two-day health camp organised by the temple administration.

It may be mentioned that the Banajaga team will have 250 members including 100 Daitapati servitors.

The SJTA on Tuesday had made some major announcements on the search and selection of daru (log) for the Trinity by the Banajaga team of servitors which is scheduled to set out for its mission on March 29.

As per the announcement, chief administrator of SJTA would announce the places where the darus have been located after they are identified, selected and informed by the Banajaga team leader (dalapati).

The SJTA also made it clear that it would neither send its officials and the Stotriya Brahmins nor provide any security to the Banajaga team if it violates its directive.

Sources said the temple administration had made the announcement in the wake of disagreement among a section of servitors.

As per the decision, barricades would be erected within a 60-metre radius of the tree after it is identified and selected by the Banajaga team. Devotees and media persons would not be allowed to enter inside the barricade. The devotees will have a darshan of the tree from outside the barricade.

The temple administration has formed a seven-member committee comprising four senior Badagrahi servitors and the president, secretary and treasurer of the Daitapati Nijog which will apprise the administration of all matters relating to Banajaga rituals.

Briefing newsmen after a meeting with the Daitapati servitors, SJTA chief administrator Suresh Chandra Mohapatra said the Banajaga dalapati Haladhara Dasmohapatra would inform the temple administration about the selection of daru.

“The temple administration is hopeful that the Banajaga dalapati, having experience in previous Banajaga Yatra, would make the Yatra successful in this year’s Nabakalebara with proper coordination with his team and the temple administration,” he said.

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