Festive offer from OTDC

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By Bibhuti Barik
  • Published 23.03.15

A sand art on Banajaga yatra in Puri. Telegraph picture

Bhubaneswar, March 22: The Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) has come up with a special package for tourists to witness the rituals of Banajaga yatra, a part of the Nabakalabar festival this year.

Banajaga yatra is a ritual where servitors search for the sacred wood required to make the new idols. Priests, servitors and other officials of the Jagannath temple will take part in this ritual from March 29 to April 1.

According to the tradition, a team under the leadership of a daitapati goes on locating daru (sacred wood). After starting the journey, the team halts at the Jagannath Ballav Mutt in Puri. Next day, the team proceeds towards the Ramachandi temple. Then, it reaches the Kakatpur Mangala temple.

"We have chalked out a package of three days and three nights so that the tourists can follow the yatra team. The tourists will go by air-conditioned buses and stay at the Yatri Nivas with AC accommodation and vegetarian food,'' said OTDC marketing manager Alok Mishra.

The package will cost a person between Rs 1,900 to Rs 3,199 depending on the duration of stay. A minimum of 10 persons are needed to form a group under a specific package.

Booking can be done online at www.visitorissa.org, at the OTDC regional offices in Delhi, Calcutta, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Mumbai, the central reservation counters of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation. It can also de done at any OTDC panthanivas or its marketing manager's office.

Mumbai-based IT professional Kumari Sailaja said: "This is a unique opportunity to witness one of the most important rituals during the Nabakalebar festival. If the Lord wishes, I will experience it myself.''

A team of 96 servitors has been assigned with chalking out the final plan for the yatra under the leadership of daitapati Haladhar Das Mohapatra.

The OTDC has also chalked out a plan to make tourism packages for devotees to witness important rituals such as snana purnima (grand bath of the Lords), Alarnath darshan, naba jaubana darshan, Sandhya darshan, Bahuda yatra and Sunabesha.

The various packages during the Nabakalebar festival will range between Rs 999 and Rs 7,777.