Amid spectre of drought, farmers prepare for Akshaya Trutiya

Bhubaneswar: Even as the spectre of drought looms large over most parts of Odisha, farmers in the State are all set to observe the auspicious occasion of Akshay Trutiya on Monday with the hope of a high yield. The farming community celebrates the event by sowing the first seeds of the year which is popularly known as ‘Akhi Muthi’ for which preparation is in full swing.

They decorate the ploughing materials and bullocks and clean the houses on the day.

“We decorate the bamboo basket with rangoli and keep the seeds in it. The basket is sent to the farm land for sowing”, Jyotsnarani Parida of Delanga in Puri district said.

Observed on the third day of the first fortnight of the Baisakh month, Akshay Tritiya is believed to be auspicious in many ways because of its mythological significance.

According to legend, this is the day when Satya Yuga had started. It is also the birth anniversary of Lord Parshuram.

The occasion is significant for farmers since they celebrate the mutthi anukula (the sowing of paddy seeds) on the day, to get a good harvest. They worship Mother Earth, Goddess Laxmi and Lord Balabhadra, who symbolises the importance of agriculture.

On the other hand, the chandan yatra of Lord Jagannath also begins on this day at the Puri Temple. The holy boating event is celebrated at Narendra pond, which has been well decked up for the event. New boats have also been constructed for the lords as it is the first year of Nabakalebar.

After the noon ritual is over, the representative deities of the trinities, namely Madana Mohana, Bhudevi, Sridevi, Ramakrushna and Pancha Pandavas will be carried in a procession to the holy pond tomorrow.

“We will perform the ritual after Madana Mohana, Bhudevi, Sridevi, Ramakrushna and Pancha Pandavas reach the pond in procession. All the rituals will be performed in the presence of the lord”, Rabi Bhoi, head of Bhoi servitors, said.

The 42-day religious fair is unique, for it brings out the human nature of the chief deity of the temple. To beat the sweltering heat, a thick paste of sandalwood is applied on Lord Jagannath, known as ‘chandana lagi besa’.

The day also bears significance as the construction of chariots of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and goddess Subhadra begins on this day.

The ceremony of Ratha Anukula, meaning the beginning of sculpting the chariots, begins after the “garland of permission” or ‘aagyan mal’ is brought from Lord Jagannath to start the chariot making process. Religious rituals such as yagnyas and kirtan follow this. The three main carpenters of the three chariots vow to complete the work in the next 60 days.