Saranda: Many rituals are followed in different places during the Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath. However, the festival celebrated since 1958 at Nua Batimunda village under Atabira block of Bargarh district is a one of its kind in the state due to its unique feature.
Lord Jagannath here is carried from a temple up to the chariot on a motorcycle a day before Ashadha Poornima and brought back to the temple similarly on a bike.
Thousands of devotees Thursday thronged the village to witness the festival. The members of Ujjwala, a social orgnaisation, distributed Anna Prasad among the devotees while the cultural organisations of nearby Belapahada and Putaputapali villages organised bhajan programmes on the occasion.
According to reports, a group of people, after being displaced by the Hirakud Dam project, had set up a colony at Nua Batimunda. They have been observing Rath Yatra and Bahuda Yatra since 1958 on the full moon day of Hindu Ashadh month every year.
Earlier, they used to carry the idol on a one-wheeled chariot. But after the death of the artisan of the chariot, now the idol is carried on a four-wheeled chariot. However, in the absence of a temple in the village the idol of Lord Jagannath is kept in a temple that is located in Pahadasrigida village.
During Rath Yatra, the idol is placed inside a bamboo-made container and brought up to the chariot in Nua Batimunda village on a bike. Later, it is taken back in a similar fashion on the Lord’s return journey to the temple.
Meanwhile, the festival committee Thursday organised a felicitation ceremony in the village which was attended by Govind Nag, a social activist and president of Samaj Surakhya Sangram Samiti, a local outfit, and Sudhanshu Tripathy of Ujjwala. On the occasion, Nag offered his assistance for the construction of a temple. The festival committee members appreciated Nag’s gesture.
The festival ended without any report of untoward incidents.