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Chhatya Bata Temple – a harbinger of Satya Yuga

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Chhatia Bata is a unique temple located in Chhatia village, midway between the cities of Jajpur and Cuttak. On the face of it, it is an ordinary temple dedicated to Jagannath, Balbhadra and Subhadra. We know that there are such temples everywhere in Odisha and wherever people live. What makes it unique is the sequence in which the three mortis are placed. At the Jagannath Temple in Puri, Devi Subhadra is sandwiched between her brothers Jagannath and Palladeva. This is usually the sequence most temples follow. Chhatya Pata Temple, Image – Wikimedia However, in the Chhatya Pata Temple, the order is Jagannath, Balbhadra and Subhadra. Have you noticed that this is how we take their names when we speak? Yes, so in a way this temple follows an oral tradition, giving a literal shape to how the three should be addressed. In modern parlance, this is the case – what you say is what you see! Philosophically, it refers to a new world order. Kalki Avatar Chhatia Bata is also a futuristic temple as it is dedicated to Kalki Avatar of Vishnu. This tenth avatar of Vishnu as we know hasn’t happened yet, but in India where time is always cyclical for us, we have temples like this that remind us of him. Chhatia Bata Sant Achyutananda Temple legends or some say Hadi Das wrote – Jiba Jagata Hoieba Lina – Baishi Pahache Kheliba Mina. This literally means that all living beings will one day disappear, on the 22 steps of the Jagannath Temple in Puri, fish will play. This refers to the pralaya or floods that come at the end of the cycle of creation, engulfing every living and non-living entity. She further says that Chaitya will remain above water only. When the injustices in the world reach unbearable levels, Vishnu will take the avatar of Kalki wielding his long sword called Nandaka and riding his horse. He will bring order to the world and restore Satya Yuga or the age of righteousness. And all this will start from the temple of Chhatya Pata. Bata and Sant Hadi Das Bata or Vata is a banyan tree, which is considered sacred in India. This temple is certainly home to the ancient Vata Vriksha or Banyan Tree. In fact, it is such an integral part of this temple that it is part of the temple’s name. This temple is also the Sadhna Peetha of Mahapurusha Hadi Das, who lived from 1772 to 1830 CE. This temple where he meditated or sadna. It is also the Samadhi Peetha where he still lives after leaving his mortal body. He was believed to be an incarnation of Sant Achyutananda and authored several works such as Malika – a reflection of Kali Maa, Shankhanavi and Mani Gitas. His works are compiled in Hadi Das Rachanvali. Visiting the temple You have to take a set of steps to enter the temple. It almost looks like a fortified area with long impregnable walls surrounding the temple. From the outside, you can see almost nothing of the temple. The entrance to the Chhatya Pata Temple sees Kalki Avatar riding a horse over the walls. On top of the entry arch, there is a mural of Devi with many deities and asuras surrounding it. The temple is believed to date back to the 12th century AD, during the reign of Anantavarman Deva. Inside there are many large and small temples within the complex. I remember a temple dedicated to Ma Kali, another temple to Yama which is not very common, and Ganesha. I remember a lot of colorful paintings on the walls of the temple. Jagannath Temple The main temple is of course dedicated to Jagannath, Balbhadra and Subhadra. It is also called Thani Sri Kshetra in Odisha. It follows the same daily rituals as the Jagannath Temple in Puri. Yes, it also means that you can have Mahaprasad here too. There are individual temples dedicated to each of the three siblings along with their giant mortis. The strange thing is that you can only see them from the side because they are not facing the door. A mirror was placed in front of Balhadra so that you could see him even while standing behind him. Balbhadra and Jagannath ride a black and white horse respectively and hold swords in their hands far from the future Kalki Avatar. Their swords are believed to grow in size over time. The annual Rath Yatra of the temple attracts many pilgrims to this temple. Chhatia Peda Peda is a beautiful national dessert and is often used in Temple Prasad. Just like Dharwad Peda and Mathura Peda, Chhatia in Odisha is also famous for Peda. Chhatia Peda There is no better place to find it than just outside Chhatia Bata Temple. You can see vendors in shops or even on bikes carrying baskets full of well branded invitation Pedas with punch marks on them. Travel Tips for Chhatia Bata Chhatia is about 50 km from Jajpur and Bhubaneshwar, so you can approach it from any side. You can stay in Jajpur, Chandikole, Cuttack or Bhubaneshwar. Photography is strictly prohibited in this temple.

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