19 February 2011

Special Cover on Jagannath Sadak Sagda Yatra..

The Jagannath Sadak

A journey back into time is being led by me along with a hundred other Jagannath Bhaktas from the 6th March 2011. The expedition is being held as the “Sri Sri Jagann ath Sadak Sagada Yatra”. The journey will take around twenty days.

The Jagganath Sadak was the old pilgrim road from Calcutta to Puri. It took form sometime in late 1700’s and was the lifeline for all pilgrims who came to the Lord’s abode at Puri. It was, from 1825, known as the Orissa Trunk Road, but for the devotees who descended on this path and made the slow way to Puri, it has always been the Jagannath Sadak. The road wound its way touching Medinapore, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Cuttack and Bhubaneswar before ending at Puri. The travelers covered the distances by bullock carts, hackneys, palanquins, horses and elephants, but most of them trudged on foot. This was the overland mail route too, as mail was carried to the various post offices that were established from 1803 onwards. Prominent among these were Tamluk, Kedgeree, Balasore, Soro, Bhadrak, Cuttack, Puri and Ganjam. The Government of Bengal introduced the Zamindari Dak Cess Bill in 1962 to improve the postal system prevalent in the times.

There were staging bungalows later called Dak Bungalows all along the route (some of them still exist) and this road was the lifeline for trade and communication. Even the Dak Palanquin service was in force during the period 1861-64.

The road was a well travelled one with many amenities for the pilgrims and travelers. There were Choultries, Dharamshalas, Wells, Tanks, Culverts, Bridges, Temples, Rest sheds, Ghats etc. Many remnants of these are still visible on the isolated stretches of this once grand road.

With the advent of the railways in 1892, the Jagannath Sadak fell into disuse and over the next few years was lost for ever. The railways shortened the travel time from three weeks to fourteen hours. Many stretches of the road just vanished with time, it was encroached upon by villages and some lengths now form the National Highway No 5.

This journey is being undertaken to highlight the sad plight of this once great and now forgotten road on which the pilgrims travelled to visit the gods at Puri. It is a humble attempt to revisit and revive the lost glory of Kalinga, and to relocate and retrace the road with the help of modern scientific survey equipments.

The Sadak Yatra is a purely voluntary one. It is based on research that was done by me for the last four years. I have sourced old maps, travel accounts, revenue, settlement and land records, archival material etc. from various sources in India and abroad. I have personally conducted three recce trips in the last two years and have found more then two hundred archeological remains of this road. Many more will be found during this trip. Most of what remains is in ruins, but nevertheless they still resonate with what the pilgrims underwent on their way to Puri.

The Sagada Yatra has a two fold objective, one will be the emotive and religious aspect, there will be a group of more then a hundred Jagganath Bhaktas who will wind their way thru this ancient road, spreading the message of the Lord’s all encompassing love, affection and brotherhood. There shall be two bullock carts; one carrying the holy trinity, the other shall have a huge cauldron in which water shall be collected from all the rivers, holy tanks, temple ponds, pushkarinis which lay enroute. This shall start with water collected from the Ganga at Kolkatta, and all along the way devotees will be allowed to bring water from their holy sources. We shall collect water from every river and holy tank enroute. On reaching Puri after the completion of the Yatra, this amalgamation of sacred nectars will we mixed with the waters of the Bay of Bengal in a Maha Samudra Arti which will be preformed at the revered Mahadodhi beach at Puri under the auspices of the Jagadguru Sankaracharya of Puri.

Besides the journey and the scientific cartographic, archeological, historical and geographical survey of the Sadak, many other events are being organised by us. We expect people in the thousand to participate with us in the Yatra. We will be accompanied by volunteer students from the faculties of Archeology, History, Geography and other allied departments from all the major universities of the State. They will interact with the villagers and visit the ruins that dot the terrain of the route of the Jagganath Sadak. There is a very rich oral and folk tradition history of the Sadak, and we will be recording all of it. A one hour documentary will be produced on this ancient road.

I shall be carrying 500 numbered covers in the bullock cart from Kolkatta to Puri. These will be way stamped at all the major Post Offices that fall in the way and the envelopes will be carried inside the Jagannath Temple and stamped at the Singha Dwar Post office at Puri. Two hundred covers will be given away to Philatelists on a first come basis. They will be affixed with the Jagganath Temple Rath Yatra Stamp. These will be signed covers by both me and fellow philatelist Kasinath Sahoo who too is participating in the Yatra.

A special cover on the Jagannath Sadak will be released on the completion of the Yatra.

Any philatelist who is interested in getting a cover may send me a mail on jagannathsadak@hotmail.com. We also invite philatelists who are interested to participate in the Yatra. All we can provide is basic food and accommodation. It will be tough, very tough, but it is all for a good cause.

In the name of the Lord of the Universe, Jai Jagannath.

- Anil Dhir


1 comment:

chatrath@gmail.com said...

Bravo Jagannath Sadak Sagda Yatra

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