Panchuka is observed in Odisha during the last five days of the sacred month Kartika.
Fasting is observed by Lord Jagannath worshippers during this five-day period, which begins on Bada Ekadashi and finishes on Kartika Purnima.
It is customary for Odias to abstain from eating non-vegetarian cuisine for the full month of Kartika. Those who are unable to do so should refrain from eating non-vegetarian food for the next five days, or Panchuka, also known as Bagаpanchuka. Even cranes are supposed to become religious around this time and stop eating fish.
What are the rituals followed during Panchuka?
Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Narayan are adored for five days. Married women pray for the long life of their husbands by worshipping Goddess Vrundavati, the wife of the demon Jalandhara, in the shape of the sacred tulsi plant.
They also use gorgeous Muruja or Rangoli to beautify the space.
Vrundavati’s chastity and purity are said to have saved the life of her husband, who did not practise any dharma. Women feel that by honouring Vundavati, they can achieve the same level of merit.
On each of the five days, Lord Jagannath is dressed in a new Bhesa (attire). On the first day, he is dressed as Laxminarayan, followed by Bankachuda Bhesa, Tribikrama Bhesa, and Laxminrusingha Bhesa. The Lord gives devotees darshan in Rajarajeswar Bhesa on the last day of Panchuka, which is exceedingly important.
However, owing to COVID-19 guidelines, devotees will not be permitted to attend the Panchuka ceremony at the temple this year.