Puri: Nearly two weeks after cyclone ‘FANI’ devastated the coastal belt of the state, life is yet to get back to normal in the holy town of Puri. Shortage of amenities is evident and the famed Srimandir – abode of Lord Jagannath — hasn’t been left out of its clutches either.
With four of the special gardens designated to supply the 12th century shrine with holy basil and flowers lying in ruins, the Lord of the universe apparently has to make do with whatever is available.
Both holy basil and flowers are important parts of the daily ritual in this temple and there are set procedures as to where and how these materials can be sourced.
According to the tradition, servitors living on ‘habisa’ (partial fast) can collect these items from ‘Koili baikuntha’ inside the temple premises and three other gardens such as ‘Nilachala Upabana’, ‘Mati Tota’ and ‘Narendra Pushkarini’.
Apart from being used in offerings, they are needed during the ‘sringar’ (makeup) of the Lords. Servitors prepare floral jewellery the Lords wear on their hands, chest, nose and neck. This apart, several rituals require specially made large garlands that represent the Lord.
While most of these garlands have a composition of half flower and the other half holy basil, issue of availability of these materials have forced the temple administration and servitors to make smaller garlands and use less flower in rituals.
“The issue of availability is real. We are forced to cut down on the quantity that we used to use earlier after the cyclone destroyed the gardens. This will continue until alternative arrangements are made.
The temple administration also acknowledged the issue and said that they are considering alternatives to ensure that the required amount of Holy basil and flower are made available for the temple.