ibnlive » India

Jul 09, 2007 at 10:31pm IST

Puri artisans slog day and night to ready chariots

Puri: Over a hundred carpenters have been assigned the annual privilege of constructing the three huge raths (chariots) of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra for the Puri Rath Yatra.

Specific types of timber logs are used to prepare the axe, wheel and the spokes of the chariots for the Yatra, which begins on July 16 this year.

“We do a lot of work but doing this work gives us maximum happiness. We leave all our other work to be part of this,” says a painter, Damodar Moharana.

Along with these carpenters, many sculptors and painters display their skill by engraving and colouring images on all four sides of the chariots. They use bright traditional colours to decorate the images and then fix them around the chariot. A set of traditional tailors work for a week to deck the chariot.

“This is like doing service to god. We are very happy that in this lifetime we could do this. We are proud of it,” says a carpenter, Balakrushna Mohapatra.

After all this, blacksmiths strengthen the weak portions, particularly the wheels by reinforcing them with iron clamps and hooks. All the three chariots are then fitted with unique shock absorber systems.

During the yatra, the presiding deities take a three-kilometre long ride to their birthplace, the Guddicha temple for nine days. With so much planning and effort going into the making of the Raths, no stone is left unturned in making them a structural wonder.