‘Chained’ Lord Ensconced On The Chariot

Kendrapara : In a departure from practice, locals of a remote village today stuck on to the custom and observed Rath Yatra by putting the ‘chained’ lord on the chariot’s pedestal.

“Amid much fanfare and religious fervour, the car festival was observed at riverside Kakatpur village under Badiha gram panchayat. The village lays claim to fame for the fact people here are still continuing to adhere to a unique tradition. Not only the Lord Jagannath was chained, but devotees pulled the chariot by rope made up of iron strings,” said Mrs. Ahalya Rout, former Sarpanch of Badiha Gram Panchayat.

In fact the idol ensconced in the village Jagannath temple is always tied and an iron string that fastens the God is affixed to the rear portion of the citadel. The apparel covers up the symbol of captivity to give the divinity a dignified look.

Constantly haunted by fear that God would leave their village for good; residents of this village of this coastal district of Orissa have put Lord Jagannath in chains.

People here are under strong belief that God would disappear from the village once put out of chains. That’s why; the chained idol is taken out of the temple in ritualistic procession to be placed on the Rath. The ropes used to pull the chariot are also strings of iron, said Mrs. Rout.

This year, it was no exception. Jagannath was tied atop the chariot during annual Car Festival. The devotees in thronged in large numbers pulled the chariot by strings made up from iron.

“It’s a tradition that we are adhering to since years together. The villagers who have unflinching faith in Jagannath fear that God may desert the village. That’s why, we have kept him tied”, narrated Brahmananda Swain, member of the local Jagannath Temple trustee board.

Legend has it that God had migrated to Kakatpur three centuries back. Earlier seaside Champagada village off Satabhaya coast housed the deity. Then Champagada was under rule of local zamindar. Lord cursed the then ruler and left the place for good. Later the sea gobbled up the hamlet.

“Since then during 18th century Jagannath continues to stay in his abode in Kakatpur. But fear persists that Jagannath may leave our hamlet. God-fearing people here have been forced to hold the god captive”, said temple priest Satrughan Dash.

The temple trustee, priests and locals are unanimous in their opinion in keeping the idol in chains.

“We are safe and sound here under blessings of Lord Jagannath. There is nothing wrong in keeping Him in chains as long as we feel protected and safe”, locals logically concluded.