Chakhi Khuntia alias Chandan Hajuri, was the 1st legendary figures of National Freedom Movement of India. Every year his birth day is celebrated at on 20th January at Puri.
This great man was born on the sacred tithi (day) of Shamba Dasami in the year 1827 in the famous Hajuri family of Puri Harachandi Sahi. His father Raghunath Khuntia alias Bhimasen Hajuri was a sevak (servant) of the Lord Jagannath. Since the child was born his father was dressing the Lord with sandle-paste (Chandan), for this he was given the name “Chandan Hajuri”. His mother was Kamalavati, a pious lady. In his childhood he was taught Oriya language and literature in a Chatasali (pre-school). With his own interest he learned Hindi to enable him for communicating with “Yatris” (Pilgrims) of Lord Jagannath. He had also desire to learn History and Geography of India, her hoary heritage and heroic tales of her national leaders. Being a denizen of Puri he was always involved with all sorts of physical exercises at the Akheda or Jagaghara (local name for Gym) of Puri. At the age of 12 he got married to Sundarmani. He always accompanied his father for pilgrimage to northern India with the tourists. During that time he came closer with eminent personalities of India’s Freedom Movement like Meropanth, father of Laxmi Bai, Laxmi Bai herself and attracted towards India’s Freedom Movement.
It is matter of pride for us that this great son of Orissa soil of the 19th century was not only inspired by the heroic deeds of a host of Indians, but also he himself inspired a large number of soldiers who sacrificed their lives bravely on the holy soil of the Mother India. He will be ever remembered by us as an immortal poet, a national hero, a great patriot and renowned devotee of Lord Jagannath.
CHAKHI KHUNTIA sevak Shamba Dasami