Phasi wooden for Jagannath chariot this 12 months totally from personal lands; forest loss, local weather change affecting pure provide

Phasi and Dhaura bushes take 50-100 years to mature; this poses a problem to the annual development of chariots within the Puri Jagannath Yatra

Wooden for Jagannath Temple. Credit score: Shree Jagannatha Temple, Puri

Odisha marked the day of Basant Panchami February 5, 2022, with a prayer ceremony to consecrate the logs used within the chariot of the deity Jagannath. However this 12 months, many of the Phasi (Anogeissus acuminata) wooden got here from personal land slightly than forests, in keeping with the state forest division.

That is important as latest years have proven a decline within the development of the bushes akin to Phasi whose wooden is harvested for the chariot. The rationale: extreme forest loss sans regeneration in addition to local weather change.

The chariot is used within the Jagannath Yatra of Puri later within the 12 months.


Learn: Lord! The place will the wooden for Jagannath’s chariot come from?


Sisir Kumar Ratho, the principal chief conservator of forests, tweeted February 4: “Forest Division is privileged to serve Lord Jagannath since immemorial. Nonetheless, earlier, all logs was once from forest. Now, an excellent portion is obtainable by individuals from their personal land.”

Round 99 per cent of Phasi logs got here from personal land house owners this 12 months, Manoj Kr Mohapatra IFS, regional chief conservator of forest, Bhubaneswar circle, advised Down To Earth. This 12 months, these bushes had been harvested from Nayagarh and Khordha districts of Odisha.

“Round 72 logs of Phasi, 14 ft in size and 6 ft in girth are used for making the wheels of the chariots. These logs largely got here from personal land house owners. They donated the logs to the temple committee for the chariot,” he stated.

Round 865 logs of Phasi, Dhaura (Anogeissus latifolia), Asan (Terminalia elliptica) and Simal (Bombax ceiba), together with a number of others, are the tree species majorly used for the development of chariots of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra yearly.

Local weather change and the Yatra

The Phasi bushes used within the chariots, have been dwindling as a result of lack of forests in addition to local weather change in latest a long time, forest division officers stated.

Phasi bushes develop are largely discovered within the alluvial floodplain of the Mahanadi.

“Phasi bushes take 50-60 years to mature. The bushes for the chariot need to be pencil straight, six ft in girth and 12-14 ft in peak. If the girth is much less, they can’t be used. The Jagannath Temple Committee sends its members to earmark such bushes from forest and personal land that can be utilized for the chariot,” Mohapatra added.

“Because the bushes are being felled for many years now, their regeneration has been affected. There have been a number of Phasi bushes within the forest space, however they weren’t chosen this 12 months as they didn’t match the invoice for the chariot. Additionally, there have been youthful bushes which can’t be harvested as but. We additionally left a number of grownup bushes as mom bushes to generate extra saplings,” he added.

The forest division can also be apprehensive about fast local weather change resulting in erratic rainfall and cyclones within the area interfering with the expansion of the bushes getting used for the development of the chariots.

“We’d like round 426 logs of Dhaura bushes, of three-four ft girth for the axels and the physique of the chariot. The Dhaura tree takes 80 years to achieve a girth of six ft. As local weather has taken maintain, we have now noticed that their development is slowing down because the final 20 years. It could now take Dhaura bushes 100 years to achieve six ft girth. Equally, Phasi matures in 50 years. It could additionally take longer to achieve the six ft girth in future, so we have to begin planning from now,” Mohapatra stated.

The forest division has stated the tree species used for the chariot are present in 14 districts of Odisha. Nonetheless, they may give attention to planting these species immediately in order that there might not be a disaster in future.

“As a part of the Inexperienced Mahanadi Mission, we’re spreading consciousness among the many plenty and requesting them to start out rising Dhaura bushes on their land together with fruit bushes,” he stated.

Mohapatra advised DTE that as a part of the Jagannath Bana Prakalpa, launched in 2000, they’d not been profitable in rising Dhaura bushes.

“The Phasi bushes planted as a part of the Jagannath Bana Prakalp have attained a peak of 25 ft, Neem (Azadirachta indica) bushes have grown to 12-14 ft and Asan to two-three ft. However we have now not been capable of develop Dhaura,” he stated.

“Because it largely performs a load-bearing position within the chariot, it’s indispensable and irreplaceable. So, the CAR timber working circle, together with the forest division, have mandated its conservation on personal land. The species can also be being planted consciously in block plantations and as a part of the Inexperienced Mahanadi Mission,” Mohapatra stated.

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