Puri: Daitapati servitors, who play a major role in organising the annual Rath Yatra, usually observe food restrictions and live an austere life during the Anasara ritual.
As per Srimandir tradition, Daitapati servitors attend to Lord Jagannath and his Siblings Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra when they undergo medication for fever at the Anasara Gruha (asylum for the sick) following the Snana Purnima (bathing) ritual.
Daitapatis and their families invariably follow a set of customs during the 15 day-long ritual. Customarily, they never spend night outside the Holy City during the Anasara ritual.
“We thoroughly clean our houses and kitchens and wash our clothes ahead of the bathing ritual of Srimandir deities. Our women adopt hearth cooking for preparing rice, dal and curry. All our family members take cooked food only once a day during the Anasara ritual,” said senior Daitapati servitor Ramachandra Das Mahapatra.
According to Das Mahapatra, Daitapatis and their families are forbidden to take food or water from outside during the medication period of Srimandir deities. “Members of our community who are working in other places come to the Holy City on leave for 15 days to follow all these customs. No friend or relative is permitted to visit our houses during this period. Even married-off daughters of Daitapati families are forbidden to visit their parents and siblings during Anasara ritual,” said Das Mahapatra, who is the Badagrahi (caretaker) of Devi Subhadra during the car festival.
The senior Daitapati servitor claimed that members of his community do not use cushion, cot and pillow during the ritual. “Members of Daita community even do not use ornaments during the medication of deities. We do not offer alms to beggars for 15 days,” Das Mahapatra claimed.