The celebration of Banajaga Jatra, a special ritual associated with Lord Jagannath’s Nabakalebara at Dhenkanal, has drawn serious criticism from the servant community and cultural experts in Puri.
According to the sources, authorities of Jagannath temple in Odapada Ekagharia village named ‘Saran Shreekhetra’ recently organized Banajaga Jatra and identification of Neem (Daru) divine trees to create new idols of deities.
The religious event received severe negative reactions from several circles, especially from the community of servants of the Puri Jagannath temple.
Srimandir servants and culture experts claim that since Puri is the main abode of Lord Jagannath, there is specific mention in the shashtras for the conduct of Nabakalebara and his related rituals in accordance with the code of the pilgrimage town. But apart from that, there is no rule that allows the identification of Daru or the celebration of Nabakalebara elsewhere than in Puri.
Meanwhile, a complaint has been filed in connection with the incident at Singhadwara Police Station. Senior servant Jagdish Dash Mohapatra, who filed a complaint, alleged that it was an attempt to tarnish the faith and culture of Jagannath.
“The Banajaga Jatra and Nabakalebara of Lord Jagannath are very sacred and defined by codes mentioned in the shashtras. There is a certain time, process, place for the conduct of these rituals and secrecy must be maintained to ensure their sanctity,” said the head servant of Puri Srimandir. , Binayak Das Mohapatra.
“The Dhenkanal incident is a flagrant violation of divine order,” Binayak added.
Chief servant Jagdish Dash Mohapatra explained that if such rituals are performed everywhere without any observance of tradition and codes specified only for the chief abode of the Lord, it will cause a huge setback to the Jagannath faith.
Due to such reckless acts, identification of Daru is becoming more and more difficult these days. The Dhenkanal incident hurt the religious feelings of Jagannath devotees, Jagdish said.
However, the head of Sarana Shreekhetra clarified that nothing wrong was done with any intention.