This was the last day of our trip; so we thought, why don’t we make detour instead of going directly to Ratapat. Two temples were on the way and our schedule was free till the evening when the festivities were to start. So off we went.
First we went to Champanath temple in the village of Champeshwar. Lying pretty close to Narsinghpur, this Shiva Peeth is quite famous for the large number of turtles that reside in the adjoining water reservoir. Over 200 in number, these turtles attract tourists the year round. Another speciality of this temple is the idol of Lord Shiva himself. The idol faces westwards unlike any other idol in the country which faces east.
The priests of this temple are not Bramhins. Rather, it has been tradition to appoint priests from lower castes in this temple for a very long time.
From there, we made our way to the Mahadevi Temple situated at Dasarathipur close to Badamba. Animal sacrifice is still practiced here, most preferred being buffaloes. There is also a belief among locals that anyone caught stealing must confess before Mahakali or ill omen may befall him.
From there we took to a dirt road to a nearby river which is said to have elephant sightings every now and then. No human construction is allowed so as to let the elephant migration route to have free passage. There is also small dam and reservoir for irrigation of nearby fields.
Finally we arrived at Ratapat for the final event of the day, the last day of the Boita-Bandhana Festival. It involves small idols of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra being placed on a small boat-like platform and led by a procession through the village.
At one time actual boats were used for the festival. This tradition looks back to our past as our ancestors used boats to trade with countries like Burma (presently Myanmar), Thailand and the Philippines. As traders would have been out at sea for months at end, their relatives would pray for their safe return. This lead to the present form of the festival as small boats are no longer used for trading but the tradition remains.
The next day we got up really early to get back home. On the way we stopped on the Mahanadi Bridge to take a few photos of the sunrise.
Thus ended our trip to Badamba and Kantilo. Hope to see you again soon for a visit to another historical landmark and some video from a new piece of equipment we’ve got our hands on.