Puri: Lord Jagannath and his siblings had to be once taken back to Srimandir on palanquins following attacks on his abode by hostile elements way back in the 17th century.
Hostile elements had attacked Srimandir altogether 22 times for various reasons in the past. The Lord and his siblings were forced to stay outside the shrine during such invasions, said eminent researcher Naresh Chandra Dash.
According to Dash, the three deities had spent around eight months on a raft at the Dobandha ghat of Brargabi river after an attack on Srimandir in early 17th century. As per historical documents, servitors had brought back the deities from Dobandha ghat to Srimandir on wooden palanquins (Bimana), Dash claimed.
Quoting Madala Panzi, the official diary of Srimandir, Dash said Keshodas Maru, a Rajput warlord, had plundered Srimandir while the three deities were on their annual sojourn to Srigundicha temple in 1610.
Keshodas, a close confidant of Cuttack-based Mogul official Hasim Khan, had also set the three chariots afire at Saradhabali near Srigundicha temple. “Keshodas and his Rajput warriors had entered the Holy City in the guise of devotees. They had killed several brave soldiers of Gajapati king Pusrusottam Dev through treachery. The Rajput warlord had gifted a sizable portion of the plundered wealth to the Delhi Badsaha,” Dash said.
The attack had forced the Gajapati king and Srimandir management to cancel the Bahuda Yatra (return car festival). Servitors had secretly carried the deities to Dobandha ghat and worshipped them on raft. “The sanctum sanctorum of Srimandir remained empty for eight months following the attack. Deities’ absence from Srimandir had prevented the Suar and Mahasuar servitors from cooking Mahaprasad,” Dash said while quoting Madala Panzi.
Finally, the three deities were carried back to Srimandir on the wooden palanquins, Dash added.