Swimming priests keep faith afloat
Call it deep faith. Or, tremendous commitment to work.
Popular belief has it that non-observance of rituals, even for a day, can bring trouble for the local people. So the priests here do not even hesitate to swim to reach their respective temples in flooded areas to offer prayers and complete the daily rituals.
The Gokarneswara temple, on the banks of Brahmani river in Jajpur district, is at present surrounded by flood water. But that does not deter priest Bina Panda from swimming every day to the temple.
Amulya Pati, a journalist based in Jajpur district told the Hindustan Times, “Several priests have to swim to observe the rituals in the temples in our district. Besides the Gokarneswara temple, the priests of Sidheswar, Saptamatruka and Budha Ganesh temples also plunge into their jobs, literally.”
Sanjay Khuntia, a resident of Gopalpur gram panchayat (GP) in Jajpur district said: “Floodwaters have entered the Golakeswara temple. The Mata Matha in Bharatpur GP and Languli Matha have also been flooded. The priests have no other option but to swim to reach the temples.”
According to revenue minister Manmohan Samal, 40 lakh people in 56 blocks of Bhadrak, Balasore, Jajpur, Kendrapara, Cuttack, Kandhamal and Mayurbhanj districts have been affected by the current floods.
Eight lakh people in Balasore district are still marooned. Officially, the flood toll has already touched 39.