Kendrapara, July 3 (LocalWire): The 64-feet-long second-largest wooden chariot of the state will roll out on its colourful journey from Baladevjew temple here, also known as Tulashi Khetra, on Thursday during the annual Rath Yatra.
In grandeur and popularity, the Rath Yatra of Tulasi Khetra at Kendrapara stands next to the famous car festival of Sri Khetra in Puri.
However, the chariot of Keonjhar is the biggest rath in the state.
‘As part of the basic preparations for the rath yatra, we have already repaired the road through which the procession will pass and removed unwanted obstacles from the two kilometer-long road that will be used to roll the wooden chariot from Baladevjew temple to Mousima temple,’ said Sanjay Mishra, the sub-Collector of Kendrapara.
Around 40 temple carpenters took a month to complete the chariot.
The 14 wheels of the chariot were constructed with new timber.
‘We used some old timber and incorporated it to construct the body of the chariot due to non-availability of sufficient wood from the forest department,’ said Balabhadra Patri, the executive officer of the Baladevjew temple.
The present Baladevajew temple was built by the king of Kujang, Raja Gopal Sandha during the Maratha rule in Odisha in 1761at Icchapur within Kendrapara town.
It is believed that the 400-year-old Juma mosque at Old Bus stand in Kendrapada town was built by the Mughal rulers on the site of the Baladevjew temple after demolishing it in 1661 as the temple authorities refused to pay the jaziya tax to the Mughals.
The original temple was demolished by Khan-i-Duran, the subedar of Orissa during emperor Aurangazeb’s rule in 1661.
He constructed a mosque on the foundation of the dismantled temple in 1663.
Devotees of Lord Baladevjew disguised the deity and took it across the river Govari in a boat and hid it in a secret place near Chhedara Jungle.
Three years back, some workers stumbled across the remains of the ancient Baladevjew temple while digging.
They were building the boundary wall for the district planning office near Juma mosque.
‘The remains of an ancient temple indicates that the original Baladevjew temple existed there till the 17th century,’ said Dr Basudev Das, a researcher of Kendrapara.