DAILY RITUALS OF JAGANNATH TEMPLE

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 Mailama and Bhoga Mandapa Bhoga

The prescribed time is about 11.00 A.M. in the morning. After Sakala dhupa, the deities change their clothes and again puja takes place in Bhoga Mandapa, a place behind the Garuda stambha of the Nata mandira. Huge quantity of bhoga such as rice, dal, curries, cakes of different kinds, saga etc. is offered to the deities. Pujapandas perform Bhogapuja with Pancha upacharas only as discussed earlier. The Temple Administration does not bear the cost of this bhoga. Traditionally, this bhoga is offered in order to provide sufficient Mahaprasad to different Mathas (monasteries), other institutions and private individuals who eat Mahaprasad as their principal meal. In other words, the Suaras (authorized cooks) of the Temple prepare sufficient quantities of food in the Rosha ghara on commercial basis for pilgrims and others. It would not be out of place to mention that one should be pure in mind and body while taking Mahaprasad. No outside food is taken along with it. As a mark of utmost regards to Mahaprasad it is taken by sitting on the floor. Care is also taken to see that the water does not fall on the feet when hands are washed after eating Mahaprasad. It is not an exaggeration to mention that Mahaprasad is free from caste discrimination prevalent in orthodox Hindu society. Persons belonging to all caste do partake Mahaprasad from the same plate without any caste hesitation. The sevakas associated with this niti are (1) Pujapanda, (2) Mahasuara, (3) Suara, (4) Changda Mekapa, (5) Palia Mekapa, (6) Palia Pushpalaka, (7) Bhoga Mandapa Pratihari, (8) Suarabadu, (9) Khuntia, (10) Patribadu etc. On most of the days Bhoga Mandapa puja is normally performed once a day after Sakala dhupa. But on festive occasions, it is performed after the Dwipahara dhupa/Madhyahna dhupa. On certain occasions, Bhoga mandapa puja is also performed twice or thrice a day i.e. after Sakala dhupa, Madhyahna dhupa and Sandhya dhupa to meet the high demand of pilgrims and as per the necessity of Mahaprasad.

 Madhyahna Dhupa

The time is between 12.30 P.M. to 1.00 P.M. in the afternoon. Three Pujapanda sevakas perform the Bhoga puja in the Pokharia (the space around the Ratnavedi in the Garbhagriha) with Sodasa upacharas in the same manner as in the Sakala dhupa. This time the bhoga items are more in number than that of Sakala dhupa. The same categories of sevakas as in the Sakala dhupa are engaged in this niti. As it has been noted earlier, Madhyahna alati is offered to the deities by the Pujapanda sevakas after the Madhyahna dhupa.

 Madhyahna Pahuda

After the Madhyahnna Dhupa, the deities enjoy a siesta, called Pahuda. It is worth mentioning that if nitis have been performed in time and if time permits, then only the deities retire for afternoon nap. Kalahatadwara / Kalaghatadwara, Jaya Bijaya dwara and Beherana dwara / Dakshini dwara (south gate of the porch/Mukhasala) remain closed. This niti is performed generally between 1.00 P.M. to 1.30 P.M. in the afternoon.

 Sandhya Alati (evening lamp offering)

After opening of the doors, the Sandhya alati is offered to the deities by the Taluchha and Palia Pushpalaka sevakas. If there is no Madhyahna Pahuda, then the Sandhya alati is offered after the Madhyahna dhupa and after the change of clothes.

 Sandhya Dhupa

The time for this niti is between 7.00 P.M. to 8.00 P.M. in the evening. The puja upacharas and manners i.e. Sodasa upacharas are similar to that of Sakala dhupa. The items of this Dhupa are mostly Pakhala (watered rice), pitha (cake). It includes varieties of puddings; confections and delicacies called Kanla puli, Takua, Mathapuli, Bhogapitha, Gotali, Kakara, Amalu, Jhadeineda, Kadamba and Subasa Pakhala. After this Bhoga puja, again alati called Sandhya dhupa alati is performed by the Pujapanda sevakas. This alati is also known as Jaya Mangala alati.

 Sahanamela (Public Darsan of the Deities)

As per the provision sahanamela is arranged thereafter. Nowadays, Sandhya dhupa very often takes place at a very late hour at night on account of the delayed performance of nitis, and consequently sahanamela at that late hour is ignored. As it has been mentioned above, this is free darsan when no body is required to pay any fee for going into the Garbhagruha (sanctum). Excepting at the scheduled time of sahanamela, no pilgrim is allowed to enter into the Bhitara Pokharia or Garbhagriha without payment of proper Paramanika fees. Thus, the pilgrims are offered an opportunity of sahanamela or sarbasadharana darsan of deities in the evening hour also. If there is no sahanamela, then the subsequent niti called Mailama follows.

 Mailama and Chandanalagi

This time the deities change their clothes and anointed with chandana mixed with camphor, kesara and kasturi. This niti is performed by the Pushpalaka sevakas. Other sevakas needed at the time of this niti are Suarabadu, Ghatuari, Muduli, Palia Mekapa, Palia Padhiari, Garabadu, Hadapa Naika and Palia Khuntia.

 Badasinghara Besa

After chandanalagi, the deities are dressed up again which is known as Badasinghara besa. This time they wear Baralagi pata (silken robes). Some portion of the Gitagovinda of Jayadeva is woven into the texture of these robes. The deities wear flower, flower garlands and floral headgear. This besa is very attractive to look at. It is worth mentioning that Jagannath Ballabha Matha supplies flower ornaments like Tilaka and Jhumpa for this besa of the deities. Similarly, the Emar Matha supplies Chandrika and Chausara, made of flowers for this besa of the deities.

 Badasinghara Dhupa

This is the last bhoga of the day offered around 11.00 P.M. at night. For this, bhoga puja is performed by the Pujapanda sevakas following the principle of Pancha upacharas, sitting on the floor down the Ratnavedi. This time the quantity of bhoga is much less and the items are Pakhala and Kanji, some fries like Kadalibada and sweets like khiri. Thereafter, the Badasinghara Dhupa alati is offered to the deities by the Pujapanda sevakas.

 Khata Sejalagi and Pahuda

The time of this niti is around 12.00 at mid-night when the bedsteads of the deities are arranged. The Pushpalaka sevakas carry the idols of Sayana Thakura from Bhandara ghara to Ratnavedi and place the idols near Jagannath. This is a metallic conjoined idol of Purusa (Vishnu) and Prakruti (Lakshmi). Then follows offering of Paida (green coconaut), pana (betelnuts) and camphor alati to deities. It would not be out of context to mention that Bada Chhata Matha performs Kirtana at the time of Pahuda alati offered by the Pushpalaka sevakas. Earlier, at the time of alati, the Bhitara gayani, a Temple Devadasi (lady sevika) used to sing devotional songs from the Gitagovinda standing at the Kalahata dwara. Presently, this seva has been discontinued after her death. Thereafter, Sayana Thakura is taken to the Jaya Bijaya dwara where paida, pana, pushpa and camphor alati are offered to Sayana Thakura. Thereafter, the idol is taken to the bedstead of Jagannath and then to the Bhandaraghara. Thus, the deities retire to their beds, after which follows sealing of locks on the Kalahata dwara, Jaya Bijaya dwara and Dakshina/Beherana dwara. Taluchha Mahapatra puts the seal. The Temple premises are vacated of sevakas and visitors, which is called sodha. Only a few Temple police, officials and sevakas keep watch at night.

In brief, this is the dainandina nitis (daily rituals) observed in the Temple. It is usually not possible to follow the time prescribed for each niti because of various practical difficulties. As per the tradition, unless a particular niti is performed, the next one cannot take place. As a result of this, punctuality fluctuates to ensure attendance of various categories of sevakas required for a particular niti. Also, on specific festive days, additional nitis are performed. Accordingly, changes in timings and alterations in the routine nitis are made.

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