BALANGIR: Patali Srikshetra, where the idol of Lord Jagannath from Puri was believed to have been kept hidden for 144 years to protect it from the attack of invaders, was sanctified by the presence of Puri Gajapati (king) Dibya Singhdeo here on Monday. The Srikshetra is located at Kotsamalei village in Subarnapur district.
This is the first visit of the Gajapati after Patali Srikshetra was discovered near Trikuta hill in Subarnapur. At the time of discovery, a high-level team comprising officials of the Puri temple administration and Sevayats had visited the place and chalked out a plan to link Puri to the place.
With around 50,000 people gathering at Kotsamalei, the Gajapati received a warm welcome from the administration and the committee of Patali Srikshetra Utsav. In his brief speech, the king asserted that a bhavya’ (grand) temple in the pattern of Puri would be constructed here. “Given the natural and panoramic view around Patali Srikshetra, I am inspired to do a lot for this place as I am a sevak of the lord,” said the Gajapati. He said that this time he represented the Puri administration and all the servitors.
Before the visit of the Gajapati, three idols of Lord Jagannath, given to the Patali Srikshetra Action Committee ( PSAC) by the Puri temple administration for worship, were installed through Bigraha Puja. The three idols were sent from Puri to Kotsamalei in 2007. But for some reasons, the car festival couldn’t be organized and the idols were kept packed in a room. Earlier villagers celebrated the festival in their own way with limited means.
As per history, Lord Jagannath was kept underground at the Trikuta hills in Gopalli village twice about a thousand years ago. The lord was brought to the village and hidden underground at the hill for 45 years when Raktabahu attacked the temple in the last part of the eighth century. He was again kept underground for some years when Kalapahada attacked the shrine.
This claim has been substantiated in various publications like Madalapanji’, Sonepur Itihas’, Sonepur Rajagruha Chandrika’, Swarnapur Gunadarsa’, Kaliaka Purana’, Dasakumara Charita’ and many other durbar publications of the erstwhile Sonepur state. Historians also claim that while the permanent abode of the lord was called Srikshetra (Puri), the place where he was hidden was called Patali Srikshetra.