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Phasi wood for Jagannath chariot

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    16th Feb, 2022

Context

Odisha marked the day of Basant Panchami February 5, 2022, with a prayer ceremony to consecrate the logs used in the chariot of the deity Jagannath. 

  • But this year, most of the Phasi (Anogeissus acuminata) wood came from private land rather than forests, according to the state forest department.

About

About Phasi Wood

  • Phasi wood is used in chariot. The chariot is used in the Jagannath Yatra of Puri later in the year.
    • Three new wooden chariots to carry the presiding deities of the Srimandira temple at Odisha's Puri are constructed every year for the Ratha Yatra.
  • Phasi trees are mostly found in the alluvial floodplain of the Mahanadi.
  • These trees take 50-60 years to mature.
  • The trees for the chariot have to be pencil straight, six feet in girth and 12-14 feet in height. If the girth is less, they cannot be used.

Around 865 logs of Phasi, Dhaura (Anogeissus latifolia), Asan (Terminalia elliptica) and Simal (Bombax ceiba), along with a few others, are the tree species majorly used for the construction of chariots of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra every year.

Reason behind decline in Phasi wood

  • Recent years have shown a decline in the growth of trees such as Phasi wood. 
  • The reason: excessive forest loss sans regeneration as well as climate change.

Jagannath Yatra of Puri

  • Jagannath Rath Yatra is celebrated by worshipping Lord Jagannath (ruler of the world), his elder brother Balbhadra (Balaram) and sister Subhadra.
  • Ratha Yatra, the Festival of Chariots of Lord Jagannatha is celebrated every year at Puri, the temple town in Orissa, on the east coast of India.
  • In the Yatra, Lord Jagannatha and siblings Balabhadra and Subhadra ride the three colourful chariots in their annual sojourn to their garden house and birthplace Gundicha Temple, where they stay for seven days before returning, is a meticulously planned event that sees the congregation of lakhs of devotees.
  • Features: The huge, colourfully decorated chariots, are drawn by hundreds and thousands of devotees on the badadanda, the grand avenue to the Gundicha temple, some two miles away to the North.
    • Gundicha temple is beautifully made on the lines of the Kalinga style of architecture.

  • After a stay for seven days, the deities return to their abode in Srimandira.
  • Other names: The festival is also known as Gundicha yatra, Ghosa yatra, Navadina yatra, Dasavatara yatra and by a variety of other names.
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