Tag Archives: Jagannath

Festivals of Jagannath



This is Celebrated from the tenth day of the bright fortnight of Falguna up to the full moon day. The representative deities Dologobinda, Bhudevi and Sreedevi are taken in a procession to Dolabedi located outside the outer compound wall of the main Temple and special rites are performed.


This Takes place in the month of Vaisaksha and continues for long 42 days. But, generally speaking it is a Festival of first 21 days only. The first period of 21 days is known as “Bahar Chandan”or outer Chandan. During this period, the representative images of Rama,Krushna, Madanmohan,Sridevi and Bhudevi are taken in a procession to Narendra tank.The images of Siva from 5 Siva Temples known as “Pancha Pandavas” also accompany them to the Narendra tank, At Narendra tank the images play in well decorated boats and are worshipped. The second period of 21 days known as “Bhitar Chandana” is celebrated inside the Temple. The rites observed on this period are not popularly enjoyed.


This Festival takes places in the month of Jestha. it is popularly known as the Deba Snana Purnima.This is the first occasion in the course of a year when the deities Jagannath, Balabhadra,Subhadra along with Sudarsan and Madanmohan are brought out from the Temple and taken in procession to Snana Bedi located in the North East corner of the outer compound.The deities are bathed there with 108 pitchers of water drawn from a well near the Northern Gate. Here,Jagannath and Balabhadra are dressed like Lord Ganesh of the Purans with the head of an elephant. Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra & Lord Jagannath in Snana Bedi Click to enlarge Three Ratha(Chariot) The Chariots The three Chariots of Balabhadra,Subhadra and Jagannath are constructed each year with Sal wood, customarily brought from the exprincely State of Dasapalla,by a specialist team of carpenters who have hereditary rights for this.Lorrd Jagannth’s Chariot is called nandighosa. it is forty-five feet square at the wheel level.It has sixteen wheels,each of seven feet diameter, and is decked with rred and yellow coverings of cloth. The Chariot of Lord Balabhadra,called the Taladhwaja,has fourteen wheels,each of seven feet diameter, and is covered with red and blue cloth.Its height is forty-four feet. The Chariot of Subhadra,known as darpadalan is forty-three feet high with twelve wheels, each of seven feet diameter. This Chariot is decked with the coverings of red and black cloth. Around each of the Chariots are nine Parsvadevatas, the guardian deities,and four horses. Each chariot has a Charioteer called Sarathi,Matali,Darruka and Arjuna are the three charioters attached respectively to the three Chariots of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra.


As a man discarding worn out clothes takes other new ones,so also the embodied soul, casting off worn out bodies enters into others which are new.In the light of this truth of the Bhagavat Geeta, Navakalevar can be interpreted as a ceremony for entering into new bodies, when Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan cast off their old bodies and take new ones. It is called Navakalevar. The year which has two months of Ashadha is regarded auspicious for Navakalevar ceremony.It usually occurs in 8,11 or 19 years. The new bodies of the deities are made out of the newly cut Yeem trees. The previous navakalevars were held in 1733,1744, 1752, 1771, 1790, 1809, 1828, 1836, 1855, 1874, 1893, 1912, 1931, 1950, 1969, 1977 and 1996.

RATHA YATRA (Chariot Festival)

The most splendid of the innumerable festivals celebrated round the year in the holy city of Puri, the Ratha Yatra is the grand culmination of a series of celebrations spread over the summer and the monsoon months.

Akshaya Trutiya tithi marks the beginning of the construction of the Rathas (chariots) for the ceremonial journey and sojourn of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra at the Gundicha Temple for a week.

On the full-moon day of the month of Jyestha (May-June) in the Snana Yatra, the Bathing Festival, when the three deities move in colourful processions to a platform in the outer enclosure of the temple, the Snana Vedi, the bathing platform, where they bath with one hundred and eight pitchers of perfumed water drawn from a temple well once a year. After the ritual bath, the deities assume the special elephant form, recalling the legend of the Lord’s affection for a devotee, whom He proved that he was in fact another manifestation of Lord Ganesha.

At the end of the Snana Yatra day, the holy triad,supposedly afflicted with fever, do not return to their pedestal in the sanctum.they stay away from the public view for a period of fifteen days, called Anasara, after which they appear in their Navayauvana Vesha, literally a renewed youth, on the new moon day of the Month of Ashadha.During this fortnight the icons get a fresh coat of painting which gets washed out on the day of the Bathing Festival. During this period the deities eat only fruits other restricted diet and soft drinks.Cloth paintings. representing the deities called Anasara Pati, are displayed beyond the enclosures hiding the deities from the devotees to see and worship.

Finally comes the Ratha Yatra on the second day of the bright fortnight of the month of Ashadha, when the three deities come out of the temple in a specacular procession called Pahandi. The deities, which are colossal wooden statues, adorned with giant floral crowns, called Tahias, are literally pulled, pushed and dragged in rhythmic movement to the accompaniment of the beat of cymbals, drums and chanting of their names in chorus by devotees in frenzied ecstasy. After all the deities are seated in their respective chariots starts the Chhera Pamhara, the ritual of sweeping of the chariots with a golden broom by the Gajapati King of Puri,the foremost servant of God,the Adya sevaka of Lord Jagannath. The King comes from his palace on a richly decorated palanquin. Chhera Pamhara is a symbolic rite which proclaims that the King, like others, is but an humble servant of the real sovereign, Lord Jagannath.

The most exciting part of the Rath yatra is the pulling of chariots by thousands of people who lay their hands on the sturdy ropes and drag the massive structures along the Bada-Danda,the grand road. The chariot of Balabhadra moves first, followed by those of Subhadra and Jagannath. The chariots grind forward slowly until they reach the Gundicha temple and the three deities rest for a night at the entrance on their own chariots. They enter the Gundicha temple on the next day in the usual Pahandi style and stay there for seven days.

Godess Laxmi,who gets angry for being left out at the temple, proceeds to the Gundicha temple to meet her Lord, Jagannath , on the Hera Panchami day,the fifth day of the fortnight. After having a stealthy look at her Lord, she returns to the temple, damaging a part of Jagannath’s chariot in anger and disgust.

The deities, after the seven-day stay at Gundicha Temple, their garden house, commence their return journey. It is called Bahuda Yatra held on the tenth day of bright fortnight of Ashadha. The return of the chariots takes place in the same order as in the Rath Yatra. Balabhadra’s chariot moves first,followed by those of Subhadra and Jagannath. On his way back,Jagannath stops for a while at Ardhasani temple, popularly called Mausi Ma temple or the temple of Aunt. He accepts from the aunt His favourite rice cake,Poda Pitha. The three chariots pulled by thousands of devotees, reach back the Simhadwara in the late afternoon of the Bahuda day and the deities remain seated on their chariots. On the next day known as the Bada Ekadasi,the three deities, are attired in costumes of glittering gold and are worshipped by thousands of devotees. This form of the deities is known as the famous Suna Vesa. On the Dwadasi day, the three deities go back to their original place,the Ratna Simhasana, literally the jewelled platform, with the usual fanfare and the Pahandi style.Their arrival into the Sanctum sanctorum marks the end of the Ratha Yatra the grand festival of chariots.

The Chariots

The three Chariots of Balabhadra,Subhadra and Jagannath are constructed each year with Sal wood, customarily brought from the exprincely State of Dasapalla,by a specialist team of carpenters who havehereditary rights for this.Lorrd Jagannth’s Chariot is called nandighosa. it is forty-five feet square at the wheel level.It has sixteen wheels,each of seven feet diameter,and is decked with rred and yellow coverings of cloth.

The Chariot of Lord Balabhadra,called the Taladhwaja, has fourteen wheels, each of seven feet diameter, and is covered with red and blue cloth. Its height is forty-four feet.

The Chariot of Subhadra,known as darpadalan is forty-three feet high with twelve wheels, each of seven feet diameter. This Chariot is decked with the coverings of red and black cloth.

Around each of the Chariots are nine Parsvadevatas, the guardian deities, and four horses. Each chariot has a Charioteer called Sarathi,Matali,Darruka and Arjuna are the three charioters attached
respectively to the three Chariots of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra.

Daily Rituals


jagannath-puri_ptg(The timings are subject to change depending upon the rituals of the day as prescribed by the Vedic Astrologer (see ABAKASH)

1. “DWARPHITA & MANGAL ALATI ” AT 5 A.M. (Opening of the door and morning prayer)
The door opens early in the morning in the presence of the five specific sevayats after verification of the “seal” given by a particular sevayat in the last night. Soon after the opening of the door, sacred lamps is offered to the deities which is called “Mangal Alati”.

2. “MAILAM” AT 6 A.M.
“Mailam” is a word used in Shri Jagannath Temple,which means change or removal of dresses and flowers etc. At this time some specific sevaks change the clothes, flowers, Tulasi leaves of the deities worn on the previous night. After removal of colthes,the clothes known as “Tadap”and “Uttariya”are worn by the deities.

3. “ABAKASH” – 6 A.M. TO 6.30 A.M.
Purificatory rites like brushing of teeth and bath is known as “Abakash “. At this time Temple Jyotisha ( Astrologer ) reads out the tithi and other astrological details of the day and according to that, that very days rituals are performed.

4. ” MAILAM” 6.45 A.M.
At this time deities change their clothes ( Tadap & Uttariya ) and wear another set of clothes. A sevak known as “Akhanda Mekap ” keeps in the sanctum Akhanda Baitha i.e. one lamp which burns till ” Pahuda ” or the time of the retirement of the deities to bed.

5. “SAHANAMELA ” – 7A.M. TO 8 A.M.
Though this is not a part of the rituals,but about one hour is spent to facilitate pilgrims to go up to “Ratnavedi ” or inner sanctums to have a Darshan, without paying fees for it. On certain festive days, Sahanamela is held after ” Sandhya dhupa ” (Evening Puja or Sandhya Alati in the month of Kartik) and after Sakaldhupa ( in the month of Pausha ). Some times this darshan is not allowed for some special rituals of the deities.

6. ” BESHALAGI ” – 8 A.M.
After Sahanamela the deities are again dressed up which can be witnessed from a little distance i.e.” Bhitara Katha “. At this time, Deities are also adorned with gold and precious stones to suit diffeerent festive occasions.

While some sevayats are busy with vesha lagi of the Deities, Pujapandas at that time perform ” Rosha Homa “( Fire Sacrifice ) at the kitchen and ” Surya puja ” at the surya temple near “Mukti Mandap “. Then the images of two gate keepers named Jaya and Vijaya on the entrance of the Jagamohan of the Temple are worshipped.

8. GOPALA BALLAVA PUJA – 9 A.M. (Breakfast of the God)
The prescribed time is 9 A.M. This is the time for breakfast of the deities. At this time sweet popcorn (Khei ), Khualadus, Coconuts sweets (Kora), Ripe banana, Curd, and chipped coconuts etc. are offered as bhogas. Puja is performed in a brief manner with pancha upachar only.

At this time puja is performed by three Pujapandas with 16 Upachars or Sodasha Upachars. Three Pujapandas used to sit on Ratnasinhasana to worship three deities Shri Balabhadra,Subhadra, and Lord Jagannath. The Pujapanda who worships Lord Jagannath also worships Sri Devi, Bhudevi,and Sudarshan. The morning bhoga or food offered to the deities contains Rice, Kanika, Khechudi, Green leaves, Cakes etc.. The local names of the Bhog are Pitha Puli,Hansakeli, Kanti, Enduri ,Matha Puli, Kakatua Jhili, Bundia, Kadali Bhaja, Ada Pachedi (ginger tonic ) etc.. The cost of the dhoop Pujas and Ballavs are borne by the Temple Administration.Previously Raja-Superintendent of the temple born the cost of materials for preparation of Bhoga. So these Bhogas are also called “Raja Bhoga “or “Kotha Bhoga”.

After Morning Dhupa or Puja the Deities changed their Clothes ” and again Puja takes places in “Bhoga Mandap “,a place behind the Garuda pillar of Jagamohan. Huge quantity of Bhogas such as Rice ,Dal,Curries,Saga and Cakes of different kinds etc.are offered to the Deities. Pujapandas worship this bhog with Pancha Upachars. The cost of Bhoga Mandap offerings are not borne by the state or Temple Administration. This bhoga is mainly prepared to meet the need of different Mathas ( Monasteries ) and for sale to the general public. According to the demand, Bhogamandap Puja is made twice or thrice a day i.e. after ” Madhyanha Dhoop” and “Sandhya Dhup ” also.

11. MADHYANHA DHUPA (Afternoon food offering ) 11A.M. to 1 P.M.
Like Sakal Dhupa, this puja is also performed with Sodasa Upachar in the afternoon.The Bhoga items are more in number than that of Morning Dhupa. One can go near to the ” Ratna Singhasan” for darshan by paying special Darshan fee @ Rs 25 /- after Madhynha Dhupa & Sakal Dhupa.

12. MADHYANHA PAHUDHA 1 P.M. to 1.30 P.M.
If rituals have been performed in time and if time permits, the Deities retire for the afternoon.

In the evening again sacred lamps are offered to the deities after Madhyana Dhupa Mailam. On Ekadasi day,the deities change their clothes and wear another sets after “Alati” is over.

14. SANDHYA DHUPA – 7 P.M. to 8 P.M.
After “Sandhya Alati” again Bhogas are offered to the deities in the same manner like Sakala and Madhyan Dhupa but this time Bhoga amount is less in quantity and number. After Puja again lamp offering is made which is called as “Jaya Mangala Alati”.

After “Sandhya Dhoopa” deities changed their clothes and are annointed with Sandal paste mixed with champhor, keshar and Kasturi. One can witness this ritual by paying special Darsan fees.

After Chandan lagi, deities are dressed with Baralagi Patta (silken robes on which some portions of Geeta Govinda of Jayadev are woven in to the texture of these robes) and flower ornaments.

This is the last bhoga of the day. Puja is offered With Pancha Upachar by the Puja Pandas with Pakhal(watered rice),Kadali bada,Kshiri ,Kanji etc.

The bedsteads of the deities are arranged. The Deity of “Sayan Thakura” is carried from Bhandarghar to Ratnavedi or Ratnasinghashana and place the deity near Lord Jagannath. Then follows offering of green cocoanut, betels and camphor alati and then deities retire to their beds. After sealing the doors by the Sevayat (Talichha Mohapatra). Temple is closed and no visitors or outsiders are allowed to remain inside. This is in brief the daily rituals observed in the Temple. It is generally not possible to follow the time prescribed for each ritual on account of various practical difficulties. On the specific festive day,additional rituals are performed. As a result, charges in timings and alterations in the routine rituals are made.

As indicated above during Sahanamela, the devotees can go up to the “Ratna Singhasana” and pray to Lords, free of cost. Besides the pilgrims can go up to “Ratna Singhasana” at certain times paying a nominal fee Rs.25/- ,which is known as “Parimanik Darshana”. At other times the pilgrims can have their darshan from a little distance that is in “Jagamohan” and “Vitarakatha”.

Every day 5 bhogas are offered to the Lords, these are “Gopala-Ballava”(Break fast), “Sakal Dhupa” “Madhyana Dhupa” “Sandhya Dhupa” and “Badasinghar Dhupa”. The details of these Dhupas are given above in the rituals.

Radha-Damodara Vesha



राधा (rādhā) means various things and people

  1. prosperity and success and refers to the completion of karma related to birth thereby becoming eligible for mokṣa which marks the real success
  2. it refers to the 21st Nakṣatra Uttara Āsāḍha which houses 14/15 parts of the intercalary nakṣatra Abhijit which is the seat of Hari (Nārāyaṇa, Jagannāth). The two nakṣatra 20th Pūrva Āsāḍha and 21st Uttara Āsāḍha are parts of the dharma bhāva along with Mūla nakṣatra in Dhanus (Sagittarius) Rāśi. In the lunar month of Āsāḍha, Jagannāth leaves his abode at the temple and travels to the Guṇḍichā (Rādhā) temple in the chariot – the famous Ratha Yatra festival.
    • The 19th nakṣatra Mūla represents the pitṛs and shows root (mūla) dharma coming from father. If father is Hindu then child shall be Hindu at birth; if Christian then child shall also become Christian. This is mūla dharma.
    • The 20th nakṣatra represents the śreṇi-guru i.e. all the teachers and professors of the university where we train for professional life as well as the boss at work who teaches us to become proficient in our karma. This brings professional success.
    • Finally the 21st nakṣatra determines the dīkṣa guru who guides us in the spiritual path to mokṣa.
  3. It also refers to the nakṣatra Viśākhā (containing 4 stars in the form of a curve marking the meeting of Libra and Scorpio). It is the power of purity and chastity of a lady.
  4. of the foster-mother of Karṇa, the first son of Kunti who was not a Pāṇḍava, the king of Aṅga (modern Bihar).  She was the wife of Adhiratha, who was Sūta or charioteer of king Śūra. Karṇa was also called Rādhā-suta.
  5. Finally, a celebrated cowherdess or Gopi (beloved by Kṛṣṇa, and a principal personage in Jaya-deva’s poem Gita-Govinda who was worshipped as a goddess at the time of Parāśara and later again after the medieval period. She is occasionally regarded as an avatāra of Lakṣmī although the prime avatāra is Rukmiṇī. In order to ensure that the prayers are addressed to this Rādhā and none of the others above, Parāśara teaches the powerful dasākṣarī mantra गोपीजन वल्लभाय स्वाहा (gopījana vallabhāya svāhā) with the lupta bīja which is given only to the initiated for learning jyotiṣa. Similarly the name Rādhikā is used instead of just Rādhā as in the aṣṭākṣarī mantra राधिकायै श्रेयं नमः (rādhikāyai śreyaṁ namaḥ) has the power to remove the debility of Venus and every kind of skin affliction. Later add the name of Kṛṣṇa to this mantra and it becomes the 13 syllable mantra resembling the 13 petal lotus at the door of the Jagannāth garbha griha. ॐ क्लीं कृष्णाय राधिकायै श्रेयं नमः (om klīṁ kṛṣṇāya rādhikāyai śreyaṁ namaḥ)

The Veśa

Now we can understand why Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu laid so much importance to this Rādhā-Dāmodara Veśa of Lord Jagannāth and was instrumental in reinstalling this veśa as a part of the annual ritual of the Lord. During his expedition to Śrī Kṣetra (Jagannāth Puri) in Odisha in the 16th Century, Śrī Caitanya had this powerful month long ceremony initiated. For an entire ‘Vaiṣṇava’ lunar month, starting from śukla ekādaśī (the 11th day of the bright fortnight) of Aśvina māsa to the śukla daśamī (10th day of the bright fortnight) of Kārtika māsa, the Deities are dressed in this Rādhā-Dāmodara veśa. Dāmodara refers to Bāla-Gopāla (baby Kṛṣṇa) with a rope tied around His waist to prevent the baby from straying (Kṛṣṇa childhood pastimes with Mother Yashoda). It was in this veśa that Kṛṣṇa gave mokṣa to the Arjuna trees as baby Kṛṣṇa was so strong that He pulled at the rope tying Him to the two trees and they fell down!

One mythological belief reveals that while Akrura the emissary of Kansa, while taking Kṛṣṇa and Balaram to Mathura, took a bath in River Yamuna, he saw this veśa of Jagannāth.

The deities wear three-crossed dress materials in this veśa. They are adorned with Golden hands, Crowns made of bamboo plates and velvet cloth.

Jyotiṣa Notes

Māsa is the period of a month and represents the entire living phase from birth to death. At the beginning of the month, the deities are like babies and then grow to adolescence and emerge as youth. Finally old age (vṛddha) and death like stage (mṛta) avasthā envelopes them. What amāvāsya is to the Moon and saṅkrānti is to the Sun, śukla ekādaśī is to Kṛṣṇa. On amāvāsya the Moon is naked and hides inside the trees; the Sun god is changing his clothes on saṅkrānti (implying being without clothes) while Kṛṣṇa is a baby on śukla ekādaśī. Those who worship the Kali fast on amāvāsya and sing the 22 syllable mantra; the brāhmaṇa seeking self-realisation fast on saṅkrānti and sing the 24 syllable gāyatrī mantra; the bhakta seeking union with Kṛṣṇa fast on ekādaśī and sing the 32 syllable mahā-mantra.

Badasrunghara Vesha


This is a very beautiful vesha. It is done before the night time ‘pahuda’, when the deities can take rest. Simply stated, it is the ‘night dress’ of Jagannath and siblings Balabhadra and Subhadra.
It is therefore the vesha the deities appear in the following morning, for mangala arati.
This vesha is mostly made of different kinds of flowers. The Lords are decorated with flowered ornaments known locally in Puri as adhara, jhumpa, gava, chandrika, tilak, alaka, guna, hruda pallava, karapallava and tadaki among others.
The Deities also wear many flower garlands, some with tulasi leaves, and silk clothes called khandua.

Abakasha Vesha


Costume Of Lord JagannathOn each and every day, the Abakash Besha (vesha) of Sri Lord Jagannath is made soon after completetion of Mangala Arati & Mailam.
The schedule time of this Besha is between 6 AM to 6:30 AM . The morning brushing of teeth and procedure of bathing of deities is known as Abakash. It is said that this abakasha vesha has been inducted into the daily rituals by Acharya Sankara i.e. Adi Shankara, in the 9th century B.C. during the reign of HRH Gajapati Maharaja Jajati, who ordered its induction into the daily rituals.
In this Besha, the Puspalaka is offering three Pata to each Deities i.e Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra.
One Cloth ais lso offred to Lord Sudarshana .
In addition to that the napkins are also offered to Jagannath & Balavadra as ‘Utariya’ during this Besha.

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