“946th Coronation Day of Eastern Ganga Emperor Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva Celebrated”

Puri: The 946th Coronation day celebration of Eastern Ganga Emperor Anantavarman Gangeswara Chodaganga Deva was held at the Badu Mahapatra Jaga at Chudanga Sahi in Puri today. Jointly organised by the Rediscovering Lost Heritage (RLH) Group, INTACH Odisha and Badu Mahapatra Jaga, the gathering saw many eminent heritage experts and historians including local residents of Puri. This was the second year that the day was commemorated by the group.

Puja was performed at the ancient stone panel which has the image of Chodaganga Dev kept at the small shrine in the place. The illustrious ruler of the Ganga Dynasty was known for his religious tolerance. His efforts for the reconstruction of the Jagannath Temple at Puri and his efforts to unite all religious faiths under a single cult i.e. the Jagannath Cult; was a watershed moment in the history of Odisha. His seventy-year reign was a golden period in the history of Odisha. His military genius is evident from the extent of his empire that extended from the Ganga till the Godavari.

Deepak Kumar Nayak, from ‘Rediscover Lost Heritage Group’ had shared more information on the old image at the Badu Mahapatra Jagaghara. The sculpted image of a royal had been worshipped as Lord Rama since ages. It was only recently that a proper identification of the image was done based on the rich iconography and the fact that it was Chodaganga Dev image was established. His ruled his kingdom akin to Maryada Purushottom Lord Rama. The great King’s personality based on his personal abilities and physical construction had perhaps portrayed him as Purushottoma through this sculptural depiction.

Bikram Kumar Nayak, an INTACH member, said that a proper statue of the great King Emperor should be set up both in Puri and Bhubaneswar. Last year the group had written to the government asking them to include the development of the Jagaghara in the Parikrama Project. He said proper studies need to be made to identify other heritage sites and structures connected with this great emperor which remain neglected. The large Chuganga pond near the Jagaghara should be properly de-silted and renovated. The place where the idol is kept is just 100 metres away from the Parikrama Path, proper signage should be installed so that visitors can come to the place too.

Anil Dhir, the Co-Convenor of INTACH Odisha said that the missing gaps in Odishan history should be filled up. Proper place of pride should be accorded to the great rulers who had established the identity of Odisha but have been relegated to the back pages of history. Few members of the Badu Mahapatra Jaga were felicitated during the occasion for their notable contributions to preserve this ancient heritage related to Odisha’s history. Dhir said that Intach will organise a two day seminar on the Great Ruler soon. He said that scholars will be invited to present papers on the Great King whom we have forgotten and relegated to the back chapter of history.

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