Each year three new chariots are built for the annual Puri Rath Yatra festival held at the famous
The wood needed for the making of the chariots for Puri Rath Yatra is provided free by the Orissa government. In fact, the temple authorities have been finding it difficult to find the right timber needed for making the huge chariots.
The Rath Yatra at the
Trees preferred for chariot making are Phasi, Kadamba, Dharua, Devadaru, Simili, Asana, Mahalima, Moi, Kalachua, Paldhua etc. The Nayagarh forest division and the Khurda forest division provides the trees needed for chariot making.
Raths or Chariots play and important part in
Suggestions were made to reuse the wood used but the priests and a large section of Jagannath devotees opposed it. At present, the dismantled woods from the chariots are used to cook the Mahaprasad (food).
But luckily the planting of trees under the Sri Jagannath Bana Prakalpa program has been successful. The program aims to replace equal number of trees that are felled. But it will take around 40 years for a tree to be mature enough to be used to make chariots. To ease the pressure on the forests, Jagannath devotees are also donating woods needed for making the chariots.
Panchanan Sahu has written an excellent article on the topic in the Kalinga Times. You can read it here.