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Rashmi Rekha Das

Despite being away from the holy city, weaver servitors have carved a niche for themselves by making hand-woven cloths including Khandua Pata and Gita Govinda Pata for every festivity and ritual of Lord Jagannath and his siblings. With a few days left for Rath Yatra, these weavers are spending sleepless nights to make the Trinity look beautiful.

Aseli Das, a nonagenarian, is not able to see clearly and also not able to hear properly. That’s not all. She is finding it hard to speak. But she keeps on weaving different attires for Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra.

She also prepares apparels for the side deities encircled around the Sri Jagannath temple on the eve of different rituals. With Rath Yatra approaching, Aseli who hails from Routpada village under Begunia block in Khordha district, remains so busy in cloth weaving that she often forgets to eat. 

Apart from Aseli, weaver like Gopinath Das of the locality has also created his identity for the same. As many as 20 families of the locality weave clothes for Srimandir deities. It continues since ages and they have kept the legacy alive generation after generation.

Be it Akshaya Trutiya, Nabakalebar, or Rath Yatra, they are the most sought-after servitors throughout the year. It is learnt that the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) in Puri invariably gives them complete list of garments required for Snana Yatra, Rath Yatra and other rituals every year and they weave different outfits for the Trinity accordingly.

Apart from weavers of Routpada, weavers of Nuapatna under Tigiria block of Cuttack district have become popular for weaving Khanduapata and Gita Govinda Pata for decades. Starting from kids to elderly persons of weavers families are seen busy making Khandua Pata which is inevitable for the Trinity during Rath Yatra.

“It is tough to survive traditional occupation of our forefathers at this dog-eat-dog world. But we have been into weaving because we believe this is our service to Lord Jagannath.  Our love for Lord Jagannath and passion for our traditional occupation help us keep this legacy alive. We never neglect to weave Khandua Pata for the Trinity, no matter how busy we are,” said weavers Trilochan Das and Purnima Das.

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