Himansu Shekhar Rout

Renowned Odia Bhajan singer Santilata Barik Chhotray reportedly passed away at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar on Monday.

The news of her demise was confirmed by her husband Basant Chhotray. Her demise has sent shock waves across the state.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Governor Raghubar Das expressed condolences on the demise of the singer.

In a message, the Chief Minister termed Santilata Barik Chhotray a great devotee of Lord Jagannath and a household name for the unique rendition of Jagannath bhajans. Her demise is a great loss to the cultural world of Odisha, he said.

The Governor in his message said, Santilata Barik Chhotray made an immense contribution to Odia devotional music and she will be remembered for her work. The Governor prayed for the departed soul.

Santilata Barik was an iconic figure in Odia devotional music. She was battling with serious health complications. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2011. Earlier she was treated at Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital in Mumbai.

She had recuperated and was on medication. However, her condition again deteriorated in 2022 and she was again admitted to Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital.

After treatment, she returned home in September 2023.

She was on medication, but she became ill suddenly on Monday. Her family members rushed her to a private hospital where she breathed her last in the evening. 

Her mortal remains were taken to her residence in the Kedargouri area in Bhubaneswar. Her last rites will be performed at Puri Swargadwar tomorrow, family sources said.

She has rendered her melodious voice to a number of popular Odia Bhajans including ‘Bhaji Bhaji To Nama Chakanayan'. 'Jagannath Tume Bada Chhalia,’ ‘Thaka Mana Chala Jiba,’ ‘Mun Je Deula Bedha,’ and ‘Kaaliare.’ 

Widely recognized and revered in households across the state, she remains a legendary singer.

Noted Music Director Premenanda expressed shock over her death. “I was unlucky that I could not get a chance to work with her. I pray for her departed soul,” he said.

Eminent singer Subash Das said, “It is shocking news for all in Odisha. I was close to her. I along with some friends had visited her when she was at the hospital. She was under treatment for cancer. I have sung with her in many programmes. She was a trained Odissi singer. She used to love our programmes. People used to get a taste of Odissi. She used to love my songs.”