Chandan Hajuri (20 January 1827 – 1870) popularly known as ‘Chakhi Khuntia’ was a Jagannath Temple priest and a poet who participated in the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
Chandan Hajuri was born on the auspicious day of Samba Dashami, 20 January 1827 in Puri of Odisha to father Raghunath Khuntia alias Bhimasen Hajuri and mother Kamalabati.
He was married to Sundarmani at the Age of 12. At a young age, he was taught Oriya, Sanskrit and Hindi literature to help him perform his duties in the Jagannath temple. He also learned traditional wrestling at Akharas and later, taught Wrestling and military exercises to the youths in Puri.
Chakhi Khuntia played a very crucial role by fomenting resentment among the Indian soldiers called “Sepoys” and organised a mutiny which subsequently took a violent shape. Khuntia was well known as the Panda of Sepoys or Hajuri Panda (religious guide of Indian soldiers). On account of his involvement in this first freedom struggle, Chakhi Khuntia was arrested many times and kept behind the bars.
Also See – Laxman Nayak – Freedom Fighter Of Odisha