Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

As part of the unique age-old tradition, ‘Siali’ creeper is used to prepare the chariot ropes of Lord Sri Baladev Jew in Keonjhar unlike coir rope on the occasion of Rath Yatra every year.

The chariot of Lord Baladev Jew is Nandighosha instead of Taladhwaja as in Puri and this chariot is said to be the biggest and tallest chariot with a height of more than 73ft.

As per the tradition, the Bhuyan tribes in Keonjhar have the responsibility to collect ‘Siali’ creepers from various places in the Gandhamardan forest.

“We are following our fathers and forefathers to collect Siali creepers as per the age-old tradition and preparing ropes for pulling of Lord Baladev Jew’s chariot. We are blessed to offer the service to the Lord,” said Kunja Dehury, the chief of the Bhuyan tribes. 

Bhuyan tribes start their search for the creepers from Akshaya Tritiya. After collecting the creepers, the barks of those creepers are brought to Danla village under Banspal block. However, the collection of creepers is not that easy. As per the tradition, only those creepers are chosen in which no bird’s nest is found. Moreover, the creepers covering a tree from its top to bottom are selected for special purposes.

After collecting the required amount of Siali creepers, the Bhuyan tribes start processing those to peel barks. Then they have to wait till Snana Purnima. After getting ‘angyamala’ from the lord, preparation of the special chariot ropes start. Three ropes with a length of 150 feet and breadth of six inches each are prepared out of Siali creepers for pulling the Nandighosha chariot up to Mausima temple.

“As per the legend, Lord Shri Krishna has an intimate relationship with Siali creeper. He was shot by an arrow by Jara Sabara while sleeping in the creeper. The popular belief is that one goes to heaven after death by touching the rope made out by the creeper. Hence, Lord Baladev Jew’s chariot ropes are made of Siali creepers,” said researcher Sujit Pattnaik.

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