Even as Rath Yatra was celebrated with fervor in Puri, a small town Marada in Odisha's Ganjam district, which houses a 300-year-old Jagannath temple, spent a quiet day with no chariots rolling out of the shrine.
Marada locals and BJD MLA Srikant Sahu, have been urging Odisha government to develop the site as a tourist spot but nothing much has been done about it.
Historical significance of the temple
The Kalinga-style temple in Marada has no deities at present but holds historical significance.
As the legacy goes, the temple had as a hiding place for the deities of Jagannath temple in Puri, when Muslims invaded the region around 1733-1735 AD.
Once the situation changed for better, the deities returned to their abode in Puri, and Marada came to be known as Sarana Srikhetra.
People would know temple's history if declared as tourist-spot: MLA
"Not many know about the historical importance of the temple. If the government declares the site as a tourist spot, people would get to know about the place, its significance," said MLA Sahu.
"Sevayats and researchers of Lord Jagannath, who visited the place about 10-years ago to study its connection with Puri Jagannath temple...promised to make efforts to highlight its significance," he added.
Odisha government sanctioned Rs. 12 lakh for community center's construction
"The government should to take steps to build a compound wall around the shrine," said Pradip Nayak, a village head.
MLA Sahu said a 2km approach road from his constituency, Polasara, to Marada was constructed recently at a cost of Rs. 2.20 crore.
The state government has also sanctioned Rs. 12L for construction of a community center at the heritage town, he said.
District Tourist Officer on Marada temple
District Tourist Officer Sanatan Nayak said he would write to the government again for the development of the site. "Marada has links with Shri Jagannath temple of Puri. I will once again submit a report requesting...to develop the place as a tourist spot," he added.