Puri: The famed Jagannath temple in Odisha’s Puri will remain closed for devotees from December 31 to January 2, an official said on Friday.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the ‘Chhattisha Nijog’ (the temple’s top body), said Krishan Kumar, the chief administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration.
The decision was taken keeping in view the possible rush on New Year’s day amid the prevailing COVID-19 situation in the state, he said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by RTD Journal staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
Connecting to the Roots – Odia Festivals
Twelve months fall short for more than thirteen festivals that are celebrated in the state. Odisha, India’s best kept secret, indeed hides a rich culture and tradition. The whole year is filled with a grand gala of events embellished with merrymaking and savoury dishes. Few of the festivities satisfy the scientific reasonings, while some others are purely based on beliefs, and many of them emancipate from the cliched ideologies of society. Let us recapitulate ten such ceremonies that connect us to the roots of our culture and should never be forgotten.
1. Khudurukuni Osha
The Odia festivals that celebrates the bond between brother and sister, revolves around a girl named “Tapoi” who worshipped Goddess Mangala with the minimal offerings she could afford. She belonged to a family of traders, and after her brothers went for trading, she was ill-treated by her sisters-in-law, except the youngest one. Dwindling in hassle, in tatters, amidst the forest filled with wild creatures, the lonely girl prayed to Maa Mangala for the safe return of her brothers, who treated her like a princess. On returning from business her brothers avenged the culprits by cutting their noses and rewarded only her youngest sister-in-law.
Since that time women have fasted, decorated the deity of Maa Mangala and performed various rituals for the well-being of their brothers on the Sundays of Bhadraba (August-September), after the Gahma Purnima (Full moon day of Shravana).
2. Pana Sankranti
The new year of the Odia calendar begins on this day marking the beginning of summer. It is also known as Mesa Sankranti or Maha Vishubha Sankranti celebrated in the month of Baisakh (April-May). A special sweet drink is made on this auspicious occasion with wood apple (Bela in odia) as the hero and other fruits, pepper, coconut gratings etc. seasoned lusciously. This reflects the benevolence of Odias as Pana, the energy drink is prepared in every house and distributed to neighbors, acquaintances and people nearby, in order to pacify the thirst at the onset of summer.
3. Chitalagi Amavasya
On the new moon day of Shravan ( July-August) month, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra are decorated with golden “Chita” consisting of rubies, emeralds and other precious stones. The Trinity is offered “Chitou Pitha”, which is also made in every household in Odisha.
According to a belief, the girls in farmers’ homes offer “Chitou Pitha” to snails in the farmlands, and chant a prayer, asking them not to hurt the feet of their brothers and fathers.
4. Bata Osha
A day in the month of Pousha ( December-January ), in which women worship Lord Yama, the God of Death and Dharma, to protect their children and husbands whenever they travel. Fasting and rituals of sweeping the road are performed to please the Lord.
5. Dhanu Sankranti
The significance of Dhanu Sankranti lies in celebrating the toil and harvest of farmers, after the gathering phase. A special sweet dish, made up of flattened rice or puffed rice, sugar syrup and other dry fruits is offered to Lord Jagannath on this day.
World’s largest open-air theatre in Bargarh, holding the Guiness Book of World Records, Dhanu Yatra is an 11-day long enactment of the tale of victory over Krishna’s evil uncle Kansa, held during this period, in the month of Pousha.
6. Kartika Purnima
“Aa ka ma boi, pana gua thoi, pana gua tora, masaka dharma mora”, the song that every odia sings on Kartika Purnima, while sailing mini boats in water bodies to commemorate the glory of ancestral maritime trade.
This festivals is roistered after a “no non-veg” kartika month in Odisha. Apart from the belief in acquiring dharma by not killing and eating animals, there is a scientific reason behind the ritual. Kartika month is the period of transition from rainy to winter season, in which fish suffer from chickenpox and the digestion power of humans is weak. So, humans take more days to digest non-veg than vegetarian food. Also, during this phase the poultry animals and goats undergo the process of reproduction. Consumption of non-veg in this breeding season might transmit diseases into the human body.
7. Manabasa Gurubaar
On Thursdays of the month of Margashira (November-December), the deity of Goddess Laxmi is decorated with flowers and the house with alpana designs, to welcome the Goddess of wealth and bless the family with prosperity.
This month signifies the breaking of the age-old stereotype of untouchability, as Goddess Laxmi is believed to travel to every household irrespective of caste and creed. A book known as Laxmi Purana, which retells the story of Laxmi breaking the rule of untouchability, is read on the very day and other rituals are performed by women wrapped in white-red sarees.
8. Kumar Purnima
It is on this occasion that the unmarried girls pray for a bridegroom like Kumar or Kartikeya, the most eligible and handsome God, also known as the God of War. It occurs on the full moon day of Ashwina month. The young and unmarried girls worship the Sun in early morning and the Moon at night, wishing to get a husband as good-looking as the moon. A special delicacy, called “Chanda Chakata” is prepared in the shape of a half moon and offered to the moon God while performing the rituals.
9. Raja Parba
Beautifully decorated swings, special Raja Paan and a variety of food items mark this occasion. The odia festivals that is celebrated with great pomp and show, glorifying womanhood. The word “Raja” is derived from the word “Rajaswala”, meaning menstruating woman. Farmers don’t go to farms and it is advised to not hurt the mother earth in any way, as she is believed to undergo menstruation.
This 4-day long period honours women and rejects the stereotype that menstrual cycle makes a woman impure. Thus, freeing women from all household works and letting them enjoy wearing new clothes, and eating mouthwatering food.
Legends of Samba Dasami revolve around the son of Lord Krishna, Samba, who was afflicted by Leprosy. After 12 years of self-punishment in the Konark Temple, on this day he got rid of the illness. Thus, in the month of Pousha, the Sun God is offered with bhoga and many rituals are performed to get his blessings. The women cook different dishes and offer the Sun God, anticipating the good health of their children.(odia festivals)
Both Odisha and West Bengal have claimed to be the birthplace of rasagola, and the two states have a never-ending sweet debate about it. Rasagola is said to have originated in the holy city of Puri, according to the Odia people.
What’s the myth behind it?
Rasagola is said to be served to Goddess Laxmi as bhog, according to mythology. They say Goddess Lakshmi’s husband, Lord Jagannath, once went on a nine-day Rath Yatra without her permission. And by this Lakshmi was enraged by her husband’s journey and barred the temple’s door to prevent him from entering. Lord Jagannath offered her rasgullas to appease his upset wife.
The name of this rite is Niladri Bije, Lord Jagganath’s return to Shree MandirIn Puri & it is also the last day of Ratha Yathra.
Rasagola Dibasa, a day commemorating Lord Jagannath’s return, is observed to educate people about the history and origins of rasgullas.
The first Rasagola Dibasa was held on Niladri Bije, the last day of the Rath Yatra, on July 30, 2015. Since then, the Odia people have made it a tradition to celebrate Rasagola Dibas, which they did again on Niladri Bije on July 17, 2016.
This year Niladri Bije falls on July 23, according to the Odia calendar. People commemorate Niladri Bije and Rasagola Day, also known as Rasagola Dibasa, by giving sweets to their loved ones.
The Rasagola Dibasa became popular among teenagers, and the hashtag ‘#RasagolaDibasa’ drew a lot of attention on Twitter.
Renowned sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik also paid a tribute to the Rath Yatra on Niladri Bije showing Lord Jagannath offering Rasagola to Goddess Lakshmi and the day is marked as Rasagola Dibasa.
— Sudarsan Pattnaik (@sudarsansand) July 23, 2021
Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra 2021:
This year’s Jagannath Rath Yatra was held under stringent restrictions due to the fatal new coronavirus pandemic, and worshippers were not allowed into the temple grounds to prevent an outbreak or virus infection.
The Jagannath Rath Yatra, Puri’s most celebrated chariot event devoted to Lord Jagannath, began on July 12 under stringent COVID regulations.
The three chariots that carried Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra, and his sister Subhadra differ in size and other details. Every year, the chariots are designed and painted in a unique and elegant manner.
Ratha Jatra 2021 Update: Chariots Commence Towards Gundicha Temple After ‘Chhera Pahanra’ By Puri King
The three auspicious chariots namely- Nandighosh of Lord Jagannath, Taldhwaja of Lord Balabhadra and Darpa Dalana of Devi Subhadra have started their journey from the holy Bada Danda towards the most coveted Gundicha Temple. The journey was set into motion after the Chhera Pahara ritual was performed by the King of Puri, Gajapati Maharaja Divya Singha Dev.
The King, belonging to the Ganga dynasty was immaculately dressed. Wearing his royal finery, he came in a silver-plated palanquin at around 11 am to perform the sweeping ritual on the chariots. The king of Puri is considered the first servant of the Lord, so adhering to his duties the King swept the floor of the chariots with a golden broom for the journey to commence.
Last year, the Puri King had abstained from the most important hereditary ritual given the Covid-19 pandemic. The same was undertaken by a ‘Mudirasta’ servitor, who is the representative of the Gajapati.
This ritual essentially signifies that a king and a sweeper are the same in the eyes of the lord.
Before the divine sweeping ritual, the Sankaracharya of Puri Dham, Swami Nischalananda Saraswati paid his respect to the chariot. He visited the premises along with his disciples s per the invitation of the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA).
After the Chhera Pahanra, the wooden horses- which were painted in black, brown and white were fixed to the three chariots followed by removal of ‘Charamala’ (ramps) marking the initiation of the pulling of the chariots.
As per the government guidelines regarding Ratha Jatra 2021, only servitudes pulled the chariots.
The three deities and Lord Sudarsan were taken to the chariots from the sanctum sanctorum of Srimandir in a grand procession called Pahandi Bije. All the deities were taken one after the other in close succession which is called Dhadi Pahandi, which is performed only on the occasion of Sri Gundicha day. The procession of the Lords on Bahuda Jatra is called Goti Pahandi.
Puri: For the second consecutive year, the annual Rath Yatra will be held without the participation of devotees and only those servitors who test negative for Covid-19 would be allowed to participate in pulling of the chariots in the wake of the pandemic. Multilayered security arrangements and mandatory adherence to social distancing norms are in place for the smooth conduct of Lord Jagannath’s annual Rath Yatra, scheduled to begin from Monday in Odisha’s Puri.
Earlier on Sunday, the district administration has imposed a curfew from 8 PM for two days. The administration has completely restricted activities excluding medical emergencies across the 3-km long Grand Road from Shree Jagannath Temple to Sri Gunducha Temple.
Key Things to Know:
- No shop or essential activity will be allowed on Grand Road.
- People can witness the festival on their TV sets as the government has made arrangements to give free-of-cost feed to different channels and web portals.
- All the entry points to Puri town have been sealed to ensure none can enter the grand road when the festival is going on.
- Pulling off the holy chariots will start at 3 pm, Monday after the Puri king, Gajapati Maharaja Divyasngha Deb performs the rituals of Chhera Pahra (sweeping of chariot).
- Puri is currently under a 48-hour curfew. The restrictions will remain in place till July 13.
Ratha Jatra 2021: Renowned Sand Artist Sudarshan Pattnaik Creates Biggest 3D Sand Art Of Lord Jagannath’s Chariot
The Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra, a much-anticipated and renowned celebration in the temple town of Puri, Odisha, will commence on July 12 this year. The 15-day celebration has piqued the interest of devotees, and preparations are well underway. Sudarsan Pattnaik, a sand artist, rushed to Twitter to share his wonderful artwork of a sand chariot with his fans to commemorate the major festival event. The artist claims to have made the world’s largest 3D sand art carriage of Lord Jagannath’s Rath Yatra at Puri beach in Odisha, and he plans to beat all records. It’s massive, measuring 43.2 feet long and 35 feet wide.
He took this to his twitter to write “On the occasion of #RathaYatra we have created a biggest 3D sand art chariot of Lord Jagannath’s #NandighosaRatha of 43.2“ ft long and 35 ft wide at #Puri beach in Odisha. We hope it will be a new record. #JaiJagannath”.
To check his beautiful artwork do visit this:
On the occasion of #RathaYatra we have created a biggest 3D sand art chariot of Lord Jagannath’s #NandighosaRatha of 43.2“ ft long and 35 ft wide at #Puri beach in Odisha. We hope it will be a new record. #JaiJagannath 🙏 pic.twitter.com/GPelL3ObjS
— Sudarsan Pattnaik (@sudarsansand) July 11, 2021
Despite the fact that the festival’s preparations are complete, the festival’s impact will be reduced due to the outbreak of the COVID second wave and the risk of a third wave.
The servitors who test negative for COVID-19 will be allowed to pull the chariots, according to Ajaya Jena, the Administrator of Puri Jagannath Temple. All ceremonies will also be performed by three thousand’sevayat’ (servitors) and 1000 temple authorities. Since July 8, RTPCR testing have been conducted in four locations in Puri.
Rath Yatra is an annual celebration related with Lord Jagannath that takes place in Puri, Odisha. This year marks the 144th Rath Yatra of the Lord, often known as the chariot festival. Lord Jagannatha’s annual visit to Gundicha Mata temple is commemorated with the Ratha Yatra.
It is said that Lord Jagannatha, along with his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra, left their regular dwelling at the main temple to pay their respects to Queen Gundicha, wife of the legendary King Indradyumna, who erected the Puri Jagannatha temple.
Needless to say, the Rath Yatra Festival in honor of Puri’s Lord Jagannath is one of India’s biggest festivals. It is a great festival, an extravaganza of culture. Named after the Chariots Festival, it attracts crowds of enthusiastic devotees. Many legends of the Puri Jagannath Temple and the Rath Yatra Festival capture the imagination. The RTD Journal collects the most interesting facts of the Puri Rath Yatra Festival in Odisha.
1 Jagannath Temple of Odisha is one of the few Hindu temples in India where only Hindus are allowed to enter and pray. People of other denominations are unable to see the Lord as they enter the door no matter how dedicated they are, except for certain special days. However, the door to the Puri Jagannath temple is open to the public, regardless of race or religion, during the Rath Yatra Festival. People from various Indian communities can serve the Lord and be blessed.
2 Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra – the three gods of the Jagannath Temple – traveled in three different chariots. That is why the Ratha Yatra is also called the Festival of Chariots. Their chariots are named Nandighosha, Taladhwaja and Devadalana respectively. Lord Jagannath’s Chariot Nandighosha rides up to 18 wheels, 16 wheels for Lord Balaram’s Chariot Taladhwaja, and Subhadra’s Chariot Padmadhwaja with 14 wheels.
3 One of the most interesting facts about Rath Yatra is that the chariots of the gods are newly built every year. New materials are used, including wood for construction. However, the model, design, design and size of the carts remain elusive. Four wooden horses are attached to the front of each carriage.
4 The chariot of King Jagannath and two other gods resembles a Hindu temple. The carts are pulled by ropes by hundreds of devotees and visitors, creating a spectacular display of dedication and enthusiasm. Chariot canopies are made of about 1,200 feet of cloth. A group of 15 tailors made lumps.
5 According to those who had attended the Rath Yatra Festival of Odisha and pulled carts, Lord Jagannath seemed reluctant to move at the start of the festival, no matter how many people pushed back and pulled forward. Lord Jagannath’s chariot seems to be standing still despite heavy pushing and pulling. The Lord agrees to continue and His chariot begins to move only after a few hours of earth effort. Sounds like a no-brainer. If viewers believe, it is surprisingly true.
6 The Indian monarchy is a thing of the past. But there is a belief that the Majesty of Puri is present, and that King Jagannath leaves the temple on a pilgrimage after the road was cleared by the mythical king of Puri with a gold broom.
7 King Jagannath and his siblings stand on the way back to their abode after staying at the Gundicha temple for nine days. Poda Pitha, a popular dessert in Odisha, is a favorite of Kings. They find it unstoppable to eat their favorite meal during the return trip.
8 Do you know why the main door of the Puri Jagannath temple is kept closed for one week before the festival? The god who presided over Lord Jagannath is believed to have a high fever, so he is resting at this time. That is why the Sanctum sanctorum has not been open to the public for such a short time. When the holiday season was over, the Lord took a break to visit his aunt’s house for a change.
9 Ratha Yatra is also celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm at the Hindu Temple of Central Indiana (HTCI), organised by The Jagannath Association of Indiana (JAI), USA. This will be the 7th consecutive year of celebrating Ratha Yatra by the Odia families living in Indiana under the JAI banner. The real excitement of the devotees is seen with chants of “Jai Jagannath!” and reverberations of the ghantas (Gongs).
10 In 2007, the Rath Yatra festival was observed in a different way in Orissa’s Bargarh region. It was an unusual festival that had nothing to do with human festivals. Vegetable plants and plants were put in place for the pictures on the distribution carts to raise awareness of the need to conserve the environment and forests. It was the first Green Rath Yatra in India followed by the planting of seedlings.
Puri: On Friday, the district administration stated to impose a 48-hour curfew in Puri town from July 11, 2021.
In order, the district administration stated shutdown with curfew will be imposed under Section 144 of CrPC in the jurisdiction Puri Town with effective from 8 PM of July 11, 2021, to 8 PM of July 13, 2021.
To prohibit a congregation of people because of Ratha Yatra 2021, the Puri district administration issued to impose a 48-hour curfew in Puri town from July 11, 2021.
All hotels, lodging, dharmasalas, and guesthouses on the Grand Road will not be allowed to open for tourists, devotees, and other people in their organizations. The order further said these establishments will vacate their broader, guests, and inmates by July 10, 2021.
During the period of curfew, for the area other than the Grand Road area of Puri town all shops will remain closed except medicine, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and optical shop. Besides, three entry points of Puri town i.e. Batagaon, Mangalaghat, and Grid Station Chhak will be sealed.
The Odisha government has tried to incite the Odia religious tradition by highlighting how Lord Jagannath quarantines himself in a “Anasar Ghara” (isolation room) before the annual Rath Yatra to persuade people to stay indoors and follow quarantine norms in order to contain the transmissibility of COVID-19.
Home quarantine may have become the new normal across the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has been practised in Lord Jagannath Temple here since time immemorial.
“The people of Odisha embrace Lord Jagannath’s quarantine as an example, and it keeps them inside the house. “The state government has also coined a motto, ‘Ghare Ruhantu Sustha Ruhantu’ (stay at home, remain healthy),” said Subrato Bagchi, the former chief COVID-19 spokesperson for Odisha.
He urged anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 to seek seclusion, adding that “Anasara” (quarantine) was an important element of Odia culture and custom.
Quarantine refers to limiting the mobility of those who have been infected in order to prevent the infection from spreading to others.
Lord Jagannath and his siblings, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra, suffered a fever after being bathed with sacred water contained in 108 pitchers on Snan Purnima day, according to mythology.
The three goddesses of the 12th-century temple were then moved to ‘Anasar Ghara,’ where they were treated and eventually recovered after 14 days.
Every year, 14 days before the annual Rath Yatra, this tradition is observed.
“If a person tests positive for COVID-19, the state government emphasises that they must be quarantined for at least 14 days. When the master of the universe (Lord Jagannath’s name jagat means universe and nath means master) is sick, he quarantines himself,” Bagchi explained.
According to Bhaskar Mishra, a Shree Jagannath culture scholar, the deities’ siblings also take ayurvedic remedies to recuperate from their illnesses. As a result, rather than leaving it to God’s compassion, persons who are afflicted with any ailment should be given medicine to help them recover quickly.
“There is no record of Lords quarantine, also known as the ‘Anasara’ rite, being done in the temple since that time. But it’s been going on for a long time, sending a message to humanity to take the disease seriously,” Mishra explained.
On the festival of Dasami Tithi, the Lords’ ‘Chaka Bije Niti,’ a rite signifying an improvement in the condition of the sister deities, is being held in the Temple on Sunday.
According to Sarat Mohanty, a servitor-cum researcher in Jagannath culture and tradition, the deities, along with Lord Sudarshan and Madhab, are put on three wheels in this ritual.
The deities are offered “Chakata” and “Pana Bhoga” according to the rites (ORS like prasad to overcome dehydration).
According to Mohanty, some rituals are done in the locked room during the Lord’s stay in Anasar (quarantine).
The deities are bathed in a special oil called phuluri tel, and “Raj Baidyas” (royal doctors) create a specific herbal cure for their total recovery.
On Monday, on the “Ekadasi Tithi,” this medicine will be offered to the Lords. The deities are supposed to be entirely cured after this rite, according to Mohanty.
The ailing deities are offered just fruits and water, combined with cheese and “Dasamula” (herbal) medications, according to Pratihari Sevaka, a special servitor in the temple, Surya Narayan Gochhikar, while Daitapati Sevayats execute secret rituals to treat them.
He claims that after a two-week herbal treatment, the deities are fully recovered and ready for the annual Rath Yatra, which will take place on July 12 this year.
Devotees are permitted to see “Patti Dians” when the deities are present in “Anasar Ghar” (representatives of the Lords in patachitra painting).
The deities are given a touch-up and a fresh look before going out on the Rath Yatra, just like a person does after recovering from an illness, according to Mohanty.