At 90, Krushna Maharana Continues To Make Chariots for Puri Rath Yatra
Krushna Chandra Maharana, a 90-year-old resident of Puri has a task in hand ahead of the Rath Yatra on July 12. As the chief carpenter of goddess Subhadra’s Darpadalana chariot, the veteran has immense responsibility on his shoulders. A man on a mission, Maharana is not deterred by Covid or old age.
He is the oldest of all the workers engaged in the construction of chariots at Ratha Khala. Maharana has been in this trade for more than 70 years and has no intention of stopping anytime soon.
“I started learning the skills of constructing chariots from my father, Ramachandra Maharana, at the age of around 19 or 20. It runs in the family. I have been part of the construction of chariots, without fail, for the last 70 years,” Maharana said.
The carpenters at Ratha Khala continue to implement age-old techniques for the construction of the chariots. They are not distracted by modern techniques and still measure wood through sticks and manual handspan.
“We never use the latest or modern gadgets. We still believe in our handspans and a few sticks for the measurement of the wood. By God’s grace, we have not failed. Any slight deviation in the measurement of wheels or any other parts of the chariots may lead to accidents or breakdowns. We are very careful about this,” Maharana said.
Maharana has four sons – Narayan, Rabinarayan, Babana and Chhabi – who too are engaged in the same trade, under the mentorship of their father.
The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) are lucky to have such master craftsmen who are dedicated and reliable. SJTA’s chief administrator Krishan Kumar praised Maharana’s enthusiasm and energy levels saying it can match any 18-year-old.