A holy journey to Dasia Bauria Peetha

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By BIBHUTI BARIK
  • Published 17.10.11
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Bhubaneswar, Oct. 16: Barely 30km away on your way towards Puri on NH-203, a hoarding by Orissa Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) near Nirmala will direct you towards the famous peetha (sacred place) of the legendary devotee of Lord Jagannath, Bhakta Dasia.

Two kilometers away, the beautiful Baligaon village with its green paddy fields, coconut and banana plantations will unfold its narrow road, guiding you towards the ancestral place of the great devotee of the trinity, who is often referred to as Bhakta Dasia in Oriya devotional songs written for Lord Jagannath.

Dasia Bauri, as referred in the ancient text, was born in Baliagon in the 13th century. Dasia belonged to a weaver’s community. A visit to Puri to see the car festival transformed him into a serious devotee, who, could see the presence of the lord at his home when his wife served him a freshly-cooked rice with leafy vegetables. In fact, the all-white rice being served on the background of a new utensil, the leafy vegetable serving looked like the eye of Lord Jagannath and he danced in joy.

Dasia used to weave clothes and sell them at Praharajpur, a nearby village dominated by the Brahmins. There he also came to know that the rich villagers go to Puri on their bullock carts. Once he discovered a coconut tree bearing fruit at Praharajpur village. However, the tree owner asked for a newly weaved towel in exchange of the fresh coconut from Dasia. As Dasia was determined to donate the fresh fruit from the tree to Lord Jagannath, he agreed on the proposal and took the coconut home.

When the rich villagers from Praharajpur started preparing to leave for their Puri, Dasia approached one of them and asked if he could carry the coconut with him. However, there was a condition imposed by the devotee of Lord Jagannath. “You will offer the coconut to my Lord. If he receives it from your hand then only you give it to Him, otherwise, bring the coconut back,” said the rider.

Surprised, the villagers made a fun of Dasia saying that they were taking cart-load of prasad on every trip, but the lord had never taken a small portion of it.

How will He accept the coconut given by Dasia. However, they took the coconut from Dasia and went to Puri. Perhaps the villagers were pre-occupied with their own offerings so they could not offer the coconut inside the temple. While moving on the Grand Road they suddenly realised this and offered the fruit to the Trinity near the temple gate.

Surprising all present there, the coconut disappeared from the hands of the villager. The story spread like wildfire. When the villagers of both Baligaon and Praharajpur came to know this then they were more surprised. It only enhanced the image of Dasia as it proved that the simple villager can communicate with the lord directly and the Lord of the Universe also accepts the offerings from the former.

Describing the story, the muth in-charge of Radhamohan Mutt in Baligaon, Dharanidhar Das said: “After coming from the car festival, Dasia, had a darshan of the lord in his dream and he requested the lord to accept his offerings.”

Secretary of the Dasia Bauri Peetha Ghanashyam Swain, said: "Both the birth and death anniversaries (Bada Ekadashi of the month of kartik and bada ekadashi of month of magha, respectively) are celebrated as major functions in the village. But on day-to-day basis tulsi leaves from the nearby tulsi garden near the peetha and lotus flowers from a nearby pond go to the Puri temple. This is perhaps one of the rare honours as the tulsi and lotus flowers from Baligaon are favourite of Lord Jagannath.

The OTDC has constructed a two room guest house near the Bhakta Dasia peetha. While the well-furnished air-conditioned room costs Rs 300 per day, the other room costs Rs 200. Otherwise, a traveller can hire a vehicle either from Bhubaneswar or Puri and visit the village.

But, the village road right from NH-203 up to the sacred place needs to be widened and improved. At present, tourist buses cannot go up to the peetha and the visitors have to get down at a place nearly half-a-kilometre away from the temple. However, topping all these minor difficulties, the scenic village with a superb story to tell about the saga of Lord Jagannath and his devotee, makes a perfect weekend destination.