Berhampur: While Rath Yatra was celebrated in Lord Jagannath temples across Odisha and also outside on Wednesday, the grandeur of the festival went missing at a 300-year-old temple in Ganjam's Marada.
There is no deity in the temple at Marada which served as a safe hiding place for deities of the Puri Jagnnath Temple during 1733-1735 AD, when Kalinga style temples were being targeted by Muslim invaders.
Later, the deities returned to Puri when the situation calmed down. As the deities had taken shelter at Marada, the place came to be known as Sarana Srikhetra.
Since then there is no deity in the temple, the car festival is never observed here.
The sevayats and researchers of Jagannath cult, who visited the place about eight years ago, had promised to tell the world about the significance of the temple and urge people visiting Puri to go to Marada.
"The historical significance of the temple will be highlighted if the government declares the place as a tourist spot," said MLA (Polasara) Srikant Sahu.
"If 10 per cent of the people visiting Puri come to Marada, the place will come into limelight," said Ashok Nayak, a resident. People throng the spot for research and picnic. The legislator said the two-km approach road from Polasara to Marada was constructed recently with Rs 2.20 crore.
"The state government has sanctioned Rs 12 lakh for construction of a community centre. I have submitted a proposal of Rs 50 lakh for development of infrastructure at the site," he said.