3rd day or bright fortnight of Baisakha (May) named as ‘Akhaya Trutiya’ is named for the world famous ‘Rath Yatra’ of Puri. On this day the construction work of three Raths (Chariots) of Lord Jagnnath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra with Sudersan is started by the skilled carpenters.
On this day, ladies of every house generally wake up at dawn. After the ablutions, ladies clean and purify the floor by rubbing it with cowdung. Then the images of various kinds of creepers, flowers, Goddesses and ornaments are drawn with a paste of rice power and water called as ‘Jhoti’.
After all the preparation, the farmers observe the ritual named “Muthi Chhuan’ (Touching of the seeds) after worshipping the God. Then starts the process of sowing in a newly seeded lawn. Though the seeds of rice is other-wisely known as ‘Akhaya Beeza (seed)’, this festival is named after this as ‘Akhimuthi Chalana’.
There is another scientific reason behind this unique festival. During the midtime of the month of the Baisak (May-June), there is a possibility of the inflow of monsoon into Orissa. Following the rituals the sowing of seeds start from this Akhaya Trutiya Day and continue till the middle of the month of June (during the popular festival called ‘Rajo’). Then the natural rainwater helps the seeds to grow faster.
Above all, every year Akhaya Trutiya is observed with traditional gaitey at Puri. The day assumes even greater significance as it merges with the rituals of famous Lord Jagnnath. Construction of chariots of Lords Jagnnath, Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra beging on the day after receiving of ‘Ajna mallya’ and completion of ceremonial yajna. These chariots have much importance during the world famous Car Festival of Puri.
The occasion also marked the beginning of ‘Chapa Khela’ of Lord Jagnatha. On this day the representative deities (Chalanti Pratima) of Lord Jagannath, Madan Mohan, Lakshmi and Shiva are takne along the grand road to Narendra Pushkarini (Pond) in a Palanquin in a wonderful procession. There after being applied Sandalwood paste, the deities bathe. Then they perform ‘Chapa Khela’ by sitting on two boats within the pond. These rituals continues for twenty-one day fete, known as Bhaunri, fireworks are displayed and music and dance programmes are held. This play usually starts from the bright fortnight of Baisak and ends on the eight day of the dark fortnight of Jayestha (June-July). On the Concluding day, again the Lords return into the Temple with much pomp and gaiety. From the near and far areas lakh of devotees com to see this play of Gods and Goddess and get their blessings.
On this day the farmers sow seeds after performing puja on their fields. There is a very interesting story behind this. According to legend, many years ago this day was marked as the beginning day of ‘Satya Yuga’. The deities from Heaven (Swarga) had come to the earth and started the sowing of seeds on this day. Lord Indra regarded as the King of Heaven had first started as the ploughing on the fields. The aim behind this ploughing of the fields was to provide food to the people as well as other living creatures. From that day, the farmers follow this ritual for better production of grains.
Akhaya Trutiya is also regarded as the holiest day according to the Oriya calender. People begin their construction works and other new ventures in this day for better results.