Puri: 15/5/20: Keeping with the tradition, the initiation ceremony for fixing of wheels to chariot axles for the ensuing Ratha Jatra was performed on Bada Danda here with ‘Chaka Dera Anukula’ ritual on the occasion of Bhaunri festival today.
The ritual was held after arrival of Agyan Malas (garlands of consent from Lord Jagannath and his divine siblings) at the Ratha Khala from Srimandir by three Puja Pandas (priests). Before the arrival of the garlands, Bhoi Sardar servitors had readied six wheels of the three chariots-Nandighosha, Taladhwaja and Darpadalan- for the ritual. All servitors of the centuries-old temple (Maharana, Biswakarma, Mukhya Biswakarma and Bhoi Sardar) waited eagerly at the Ratha Khala to have darshan of the three Agyan Malas.
The ritual was completed after Biswakarma servitors fixed two sets wheels to axles of the three chariots.
Worth mentioning, over 200 servitors are engaged in the chariot construction. Their thermal screening is being conducted by health officials at the Ratha Khala every day. However, uncertainties continue to loom over holding of grand festivals due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the Centre gave green signal for construction of chariots, it has made it clear that the decision of holding the annual car festival will be taken by the State Government keeping in mind the prevailing COVID-19 situation.