Dasapalla: The ritual of cutting trees for the construction of chariots of Lord Jagannath and his siblings will begin December 12. There is more to this age-old ritual than that most devotees are aware of.
The rituals associated with Puri Jagannath Temple are always awe-inspiring. One such ritual relates to chariot construction for the trinity’s car festival – popularly known as Rath Yatra.
According to tradition, the logs used in chariot construction are always procured from Dasapalla forest range in Nayagarh district. The pundits at the Puri Jagannath Temple calculate the auspicious moment and accordingly fix the time and day for the tree cutting ritual.
Once the date and time are fixed, a team accompanying the Temple Administrator (Niti) carrying the ‘Agyanmala’ of Lord Jagannath, ‘Mahaprasad’ ‘Khanuda’ etc sets out for Nayagarh. They are welcomed at Nayagarh and led to a guest house specially designated for them.
Next day early in the morning, the team proceeds to the Jagannath Temple at Bethiasahi village under Chhamundia panchayat in Gania block. Several rituals are performed there. Then they go to goddess Badaraula shrine where the ‘Agyanmala’ of Lord Jagannath is handed over and a ‘yajna’ is performed.
Then comes the main part of the ritual. The Maharana servitor identifies the tree and strikes the first blow with a consecrated axe. Hundreds of people gather to witness this holy ritual. Amidst their ululation and chants of ‘Hari bol’, the trees are felled.
This year, this tree felling ritual will be observed January 12.