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Orissa: Sand chariot recreated at Puri sea beach
Friday, July 01, 2011  

Report by Orissa Diary correspondent; Puri: It is this time of the year again and ecstasy runs high among anxious devotees as Rath Yatra date comes closer. But amongst the curious pilgrims, it is the non-Hindus, who are frenzied a lot. For, the Jagannath temple is off limits for the non-Hindus and Rath Yatra is the only occasion where they can have a glimpse of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and devi Subhadra, as the triad of Hindu deities come out of their abode and head towards their birthplace at Gundicha temple riding on three giant chariots.

With Rath Yatra one day to go world champion sand artist Sudarsan pattnaik on Fridayday recreated chariot , image of lord Jagannath and Balaram Das at Banki muhana Puri.

"Poet Balaram Das is the author of Dandi Ramayan was a great devotee of Lord Jagannath .Once during Ratha Yatra (Car Festival), he tried to climb the chariot of Lord Jagannath to offer his prayer . Since he wasn't allowed by the priests of the chariot to climb it and also insulted by them . With a great frustration and humiliation he came to the beach (Mahodadhi) and carved the statues of Lord Jagannath , Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra on the Golden sand . Then there he started praying and worshipping these statues . His devotion was so strong and deep that the original statues vanished from the chariot and appeared at that place where Balaram das was worshipped ."

Sudarsan created 5ft high sand sculpture of Lord Jagannath with using colour sand . It took 8hrs, using 10 tones of sand to complete this. students of his sand art institute joins hand with him.

"Rath Yatra is an occasion where devotees, irrespective of religion, caste, class and creed get an opportunity to see the presiding deities. Devotees even touch and pull the chariots. Through my art, I want to spread the message of universal brotherhood that how Lord Jagannath clinches people from all religion on a single day and occasion," said Sudarsan .

So far sudarsan has participated in more than 47 international sand sculpture festival and championship around the world and won many prizes for our country.

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