DAILY RITUALS OF JAGANNATH TEMPLE

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 Besalagi

After sahanamela the deities change their clothes again. This is performed between 8.00 A.M. to 8.20 A.M. in the morning. This time, the deities wear different robes and gold ornaments studded with precious stones to suit different festive occasions and seasons. Also, the deities wear flower ornaments like Guna, Jhumpa, Adhara Mala and Tulasi Gabha.

 Rosha Homa

The time is between 8.00 A.M. to 8.30 A.M. Homa (oblation to the fire) is performed in the Rosha ghara (sacred kitchen) of the deities. Thereafter, that fire is used in all the chulis (hearths) for cooking the food for deities. This niti is performed by Pujapanda sevaka. It is said that previously Deula Purohitas were performing this niti. The other sevakas engaged in this niti are Dhopakhalia and Nikapa. Generally, Rosha Homa and Besalagi nitis are performed simultaneously. It is worth mentioning that on account of this Rosha ghara, the Temple may be described as the biggest hotel on this earth. It can feed even one lakh persons per day. The method of preparation is very hygienic and the traditional processes of food preparation for many people in a very short time take many by utter surprise.

 Surya Puja (Worship of Sun God)

Surya puja is performed in the Bhitara bedha (inner enclosure) near the Mukti Mandapa. For this niti presence of the following sevakas namely (1) Pujapanda, (2) Suarabadu, (3) Patribadu, (4) Garabadu and (5) Ghatuari are required.

 Dwarapala Puja

It means worship of the dwarapalas or guardian deities who are divine gatekeepers at the Jaya Vijaya dwara which is the entrance/ door between the Mukhasala/porch and the Natamandapa of the Temple. This puja is performed by a Pujapanda sevaka.

 Gopala Ballabha Bhoga

The word bhoga in Odia and Sanskrit means enjoyment. This word is commonly used in Odisha in the context of food offerings made to the deities in the Temple. Every day and through out the year, fifty-six varieties of dishes (Chhappan bhogas) are prepared and offered to the deities. Apart from this, several other varieties of dishes are also prepared and offered on the occasion of different festivals. Similarly, on specific occasions, special drinks are also offered to the deities. The prescribed time of this niti is about 9.00 A.M. in the morning. This may be termed as the morning breakfast of the deities, which consists of khai (sweet popcorn), kora (coconut sweets), khua laddu, ripe banana, curd and chipped cocoanuts. The offerings are made at Anasara pindi / Ballabha pindi which is the place between the Kalahata dwara and the Bhitara katha in the Mukhasala. It may be mentioned that Kalahata dwara/Kalaghata dwara/Chhamu dwara is the dwara or entrance/door between the Garbhagriha and the Mukhasala/porch. Three Pujapandas perform this niti in a brief manner with Pancha upacharas only. Pancha upacharas or five upacharas refers to (1) Gandha (Chandana), (2) Pushpa (flower), (3) Dhupa (incense), (4) Dipa (lamp) and Naivedya (food). Other sevakas associated with this niti are (1) Sudu Suara, (2) Ballabha Jogania, (3) Suarabadu, (4) Patribadu, (5) Garabadu, (6) Palia Mahasuara, (7) Pradhani and (8) some Temple officials. It is worth mentioning that the deities change their dress at each meal and after each meal pana (betel nuts) are offered to them as a part of the niti.

 Sakala Dhupa

It means morning food offerings. The word dhupa is commonly used in the Temple to mean the offering of a bhoga to the deities especially Sakala Dhupa (morning meal), Madhyahna Dhupa (midday meal) and Sandhya Dhupa (evening meal) when the nitis performed are a little elaborate. It is worth mentioning that alati is offered at the end of each Dhupa. The prescribed time is about 10.00 A.M. in the morning. This bhoga is known as Kotha Bhoga or Raja Bhoga. Previously, the Raja (Superintendent of the Temple) used to bear the entire cost of materials for preparation of this Bhoga. At present, the cost is shouldered by the Temple Administration after the Temple was taken over by the Government. All the raw materials like rice, wheat, ghee, sugar, fuel, kudua (earthen pot), vegetables etc. required for the cooking of bhogas are supplied by the Temple Administration. Three Pujapandas perform the Bhoga puja with Sodasa upacharas which means that the puja has 16 aspects namely (1) Asana (seat of image), (2) Swagata (welcome), (3) Padya (water for washing the feet), (4) Arghya (offering of flower, chandana etc.), (5) Achamanya (water for sipping), (6) Madhuparka (ghee, Madhu or honey, khira or milk, dahi or curd offered in silver or brass vessel), (7) Achamaniya, (8) Snana (bathing), (9) Bastra (clothes), (10) Avarana (jewels), (11) Gandha (scent and chandana), (12) Pushpa (flower), (13) Dhupa (incense stick), (14) Dipa (lamp), (15) Naivedya (food) and (16) Vandana (namaskara or prayer). This puja is performed in the garbhagriha. Three Pujapandas worship three deities respectively. But the Pujapanda who worships Jagannath also worships Sridevi, Bhudevi and Sudarsana. Nilamadhava is not worshipped separately, as he is considered to be identical with Jagannath. It is worth mentioning that there are seven images seated on the Ratnavedi. After bhoga, the same is distributed as Khei (dues) among the sevakas of the day including the Gajapati Maharaja. The following sevakas namely (1) Pujapanda, (2) Suarabadu, (3) Paniapata, (4) Pradhani, (5) Pratihari, (6) Palia Mahasuara, (7) Pantibadu, (8) Garabadu, (9) Rosha Paika, (10) Palia Patri, (11) Changada Mekapa, (12) Muduli, (13) Chandana Ghatuari, (14) Palia Mekapa, (15) Palia Khuntia, (16) Hadapa Naika, (17) Bidia Jogania, (18) Sudusuara, (19) Gochhikara, (20) Dakshinighara Pratihari, (21) Ghantua, (22) Baijayantri, (23) Dhukudidwara Pratihari, etc., are engaged in this niti. After Bhoga puja, alati is offered to the deities. This is known as Sakala dhupa alati, which is offered by the Pujapandas.

The food is simply called Prasad when it is offered to the deities. But after certain nitis performed in the Bimala temple, this very Prasad becomes Mahaprasad. The bhoga after being offered to the deities is re-offered to goddess Bimala and then it becomes Mahaprasad (Maa+Prasad). Thus, Bimala temple plays an important role in giving extraordinary religious and spiritual sanctity to the food offered to the deities. In this regard, there is a beautiful story. After the construction of the main Temple and before installation of the deities in it Goddess Bimala was occupying this Temple during that intervening period. When the deities arrived there, they had to obtain permission from Bimala to enter into the Temple. She allowed the deities to occupy the Ratnavedi on the condition that the bhoga of Jagannath after being offered to them each time every day has to be re-offered to her. As per the condition agreed upon, the Prasad of the deities is again offered to Bimala in each session and then only the same Prasad becomes Mahaprasad. The glories of Mahaprasad have been described in the Padma Purana and the Bhagavata Purana . It is believed that instant liberation is achieved by taking Mahaprasad. So, it is also called Kaibalya. It is worth mentioning that while eating of cooked food is prohibited on sacred tithis (days) like Ekadasi (eleventh day of the fortnight), Sankranti and during upabasa (religious fasting) etc, there is absolutely no restriction in taking Mahaprasad on these occasions. Sakala dhupa consists of Kanika (sweet rice), Khechudi, Dali, vegetable curries, saga (green leaves), pitha (cakes) etc. Various preparations of black gram like Bada Kanti, Sana Kanti, Mathapuli, Hamsapuli, Kakatua Jhili, Ada Pachedi, Saga, Khechudi, Pithapuli, Bundia Khiri etc. are offered to the deities.

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