Suryakant Jena

The festivities of world famous Rath Yatra in Puri brings to fore innumerable tales of all kinds and types and showcase the unity in diversity of rich socio-economic, cultural and traditional aspects of Odisha like nowhere else.

But the conspicuous absence of the pomp and grandeur of people from this mass festival in the last two years is a glaring testimony to the rage of the pandemic. 

In the gloom, there have been some instances of delight that certainly deserve mentioning. For example, take a look at this five-year-old sevayat in the Shree Jagannath Temple. Named, Swayam Muduli, he is a member hailing from the Muduli sect of servitors attached with the customs of the 12th century shrine.

On the occasion of the welcoming of the deities of Lord Balabhadra, Jagannath and Devi Subhadra to the Gundicha Temple on Tuesday, little Swayam performed some acrobatic stunts and entertained the many sevayats, officials and police at the spot.

During Goti Pahandi procession of Lord Jagannath, Swayam showed his skills in Yoga Asanas and also Malakhamb that are an inextricable part of physical training in many Akhadas in the pilgrim town.
Many families like the Mudulis offer their services to Lord Jagannath and pass it on from one generation to another.

Meanwhile, all customary rituals are undergoing in a smooth manner in Gundicha Temple after the ushering of the Holy Trinity to the Adapa Mandapa.

As per the tradition, all the nitis that are observed in Srimandir will continue to be followed in the Gundicha Temple as well. 
Due to pandemic restrictions, devotees are not allowed to have the rare darshan of the deities on the Adapa Mandapa. The temple administration has however announced that Adapa Abhada will be available for devotees.

Five-year-old sevayat Swayam Muduli performing cartwheels