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All you need to know about the Jagannath yatra

A coffee table book provides little-known insights into the Jagannath culture

By ANWESHA AMBALY

  • Published 8.07.18

The book - Sri Sri Jagannath: The Culture of Brotherhood - by Kalyaneswar Sarkar is based on a chance meeting that he had with Ramakrushna Das Mohapatra, president of the temple's Daitapati Niyog. In the book, Mohapatra has made suggestions on making Puri friendly for tourists. He also talks about the history of Lord Jagannath, the temple, and its main functions.

"I had a chance meeting with the daitapati at a Puri hotel and I was mesmerised. The book is an attempt to bring him to a larger audience," said Sarkar.

The daitapati also spoke on the changes that he had seen in temple practices over the years. "Change is a way of life. I see changes as positive and for the good of devotees," says Mohapatra.

He feels that the temple administration might start a project to build budget rest houses for tourists in Puri.

"Such houses are common in Shirdi, Rameswar, Tirupati. An ordinary tourist feels more comfortable to stay in such rest houses," he said.

He also suggests separate outlets for mahaprasad on the temple premises and the need to introduce food coupons and bats for pandas to stop extracting fees from devotees.

"The government, in consultation with the temple committee, should pay monthly salaries to the sevayats," he said.

As the annual rath yatra inches closer, servitors of the temple are doing everything to help the Trinity recuperate from the fever they are suffering from in their secret anasara chamber.

A special ritual to mark the recovery of the deities - chaka bije - was held on Sunday at the 12th century shrine.

Daitapati servitors shifted the deities from their anasara pindi (bed) to a special asana called chaka made of black granite rock near the anasara chamber where they will recover from the fever before being finally moved to the ratna singhasan of the temple for nabajouban darshan.

The chaka bije ritual is held 10 days after the Trinity enter the anasara chamber where they stay for 15 days.

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