Festivals Associated with Lord Jagannathji

This article is copied from the excellent site of Topics for Seekers by Richard Leighton.

 

Lord Jagannath celebrates many festivals throughout the year. A number of these are briefly described below:

Devasnana Yatra

On the full moon day of Jyestha (May-June), Lord Jagannath, Lady Subhadra, Lord Balabhadra, Sudarshan and Madanmohan are taken in a procession from the temple to Snana Vedi, at the north east corner of the outer compound. There, the Deities are bathed with 108 pitchers of water. After that, for15 days, the Lord and his siblings "fall ill".  During this illness, the Daitapati Sevaks (triblas) perform secretive rituals for the Deities called Anasara Nitis. The tribals are considered to be the blood realtives of the Lord, hence only they are allowed to look after him during his illness. 

The day before Ratha Yatra, the Deities are again available for darshan. This is called Navajouvan Darshan. A special ceremony called Netrochhab is also performed on that day, the beginning of the Ratha Yatra period.

Ratha Yatra

The famous Festival of the Chariots is held on the second day of the bright fortnight of Ashada (June-July). Other names for this festival are Gundicha Yatra (named for the Gundicha Mandir, where the procession ends) and Ghosha Yatra. On the day of the festival, the Deities are taken out of the Temple and each one is placed on Their own stylized chariot. The chariots are kept in readiness near the main Temple's main gate, the Lion Gate. The Deities are carried to the chariots in a traditional, ceremonial way. First Sudarshan, then Balabhadra, Subhadra and Jagannath. Balabhadra and Jagannath are carried in such a way that They rock forward and backward, moving from pillow to pillow as they approach the chariots, and finally ascend the ramp leading to their seats. This rocking motion is called Pahandi.

The name of Lord Jagannath's chariot is Nandighosh. It has 16 wheels, and is covered in red and yellow material. Lord Balabhadra's chariot is called Taladwaja, has 14 wheels and is covered with red and green material. The third chariot, Devadalana, belongs to Lady Subhadra. It has 12 wheels and a red and black canopy. There are four other Deities that also ride on the chariots, making a total of seven Deities in all. Lady Subhadra shares Her chariot with Sudarshan, who sits by Her side. Lord Jagannath sits with Madanmohan, who represents Lord Jagannath Himself. Lord Balabhadra is accompanied by two small, brass deities of Rama and Krshna. Lord's wives do not accompany Him during this trip.

The chariots are pulled about three kilometers down Puri's Grand Road, from the Jagannath Temple to the Gundicha Mandir or Gundicha Ghar. If one or more chariots doesn't make it all the way, it is simply moved the following day. The fifth day of the festival is known as Hera Panchami. On this day, Goddess Laxmi, Lord Jagannath's chief wife goes to Gundicha Mandir to see Her husband and enchants Him so that He will come back to her. In anger and frustration, She instructs her servants to beat the Lord's servants and even damage His chariot !!

On the ninth day, the chariots are pulled back to the area near the Lion Gate. On the evening of the tenth day (the eleventh day of the bright fortnight of Ashadha, also Hari Sayan Ekadasi), the Deities are dresssed in golden garments adorned with golden decorations. The next day, another important ritual, Adharapana Bhog, is performed. On that day, a specially prepared sweet drink is offered to the Deities. There is a procession on the evening of the next day, wherein the Deities are taken back into the Temple. This ceremony draws a large crowd of worshippers.

Karkat or Daskhinayana Sankranti

Rituals are performed as the sun moves toward the autumnal equinox.

Chitalagi Amabashya

A chita is a jewelled ornament worn on the forehead. The gold and jewelled chitas that were removed from the Deities on Snana Purnima are replaced.  This takes place on the new moon day of Shravana.

Jhulan Yatra

This festival is celebrated from Shravana Shukla Dashami until Pratipada, a period of seven days. Madanmohan, Jagannath's representative deity, as well as Laxmi and Vishwadhatri are placed on a decorative wooden swing on Muktimandap (Jhulanmandap). There, worshippers have a chance to swing the Lord, thus entering into His pastimes. On the day of the full moon (Gamha Purnima or Jhulan Purnima), Lord Balabhadra's appearance day is celebrated.

Rahurekha Lagi

Rahurekha is a type of golden ornament worn on the face and forehead. The three Deities, Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are each decorated with a rahurekha on the fifth day of the dark fortnight of Bhadraba.

Krshnan Janma (Janmashtami) & Krshna Lila

Three days later, Krshna's appearance day is celebrated. The following day is Nandotchaba. The day after Nandochaba is the first day of a period of during which Krshna Lila is glorified. Various rituals are performed to commemorate events that took place during Krshna's incarnation in Vrindaban. These rituals have names like Banabhoji, Kolibika, Bakasura Badha, Arghasura Badha, Kaliyadalan, Dhenukamana and Pralambasura Badha. On the thirteenth day of the dark fortnight of Bhadraba, Lord Jagannath and Lord Balabhadra are dressed like Sri Krshna and Balarama.

Saptapuri Amabashya

The new moon day of Bhadraba.

Ganesh Chaturthi

The fourth day of the bright fortnight of Bhadraba.

Rishi Panchami

The fifth day of the bright fortnight of Bhadraba.

Radhastami

The eighth day of the bright fortnight of Bhadraba is Srimati Radharani's appearance day..

Parswa Parivartan

The eleventh day of the bright fortnight of Bhadraba.

Baman Janma or Sunia

The twelfth day of the bright fortnight of Bhadraba.

Ananta Chaturdashi

The fourteenth day of the bright fortnight of Bhadraba.

Indra-Govinda Puja

The full moon day of Bhadraba.

Sahasra Kumbha Abhisek

An abhisek of Goddes Durga is performed on the eighth day of the dark fortnight of Ashwina. This is the beginning of the 15 day Shola Puja of Goddess Bimala.

Dasahara

On the tenth day of the bright fortnight of Ashwina, the Deities are dressed in Raja Vesha, and the Lords' weapons are worshipped.

Kumar Purnima

The full moon day of Ashwina.

Hari Uthapan Ekadasi

The eleventh day of the bright fortnight of Kartik (Oct.-Nov.).

Odhanasasthi

The sixth day of the bright fortnight of Margashira signals the beginning of Ghodalagi, when the Deities start to wear their winter clothes.

Pushyabisheka or Ramabisheka

An abisheka of the Deities if performed on the full moon day of Pausa.

Makara Sankranti

During the month of Pausa, boiled rice mixed with candy and fruit juice is offered to the Deities.

Basanta Panchami

Panji (almanac) Puja is performed on the fifth day of the bright fortnight of Magha. Also, begining on this day, the Deitied are dressed in a modified version of Their winter clothes.

Magha Purnima

On the full moon day of Magha, the Deities are dressed in Gaja Udharanta Vesha.

Dola Yatra

This is celebrated from the tenth day of the bright fortnight of Falguna until the full moon day.

Ramnavami

Beginning on the ninth day of the bright fortnight of Chaitra, Lord Ramachandra's appearance and pastimes are celebrated for several consecutive days.

Damanaka Chori or Dayanalagi

This festival is celebrated on the thirteenth and forteenth days of the bright fortnight of Chaitra. Deities of Rama and Krshna are taken in procession to the Jagannath Ballava Math. There the Deities get Their Dayana leaves from the garden at the math. On the forteenth, the leaves are offered to Lord Jagannath, Lady Subhadra and Lord Balarama.

Akshya Trutiya & Chandan Yatra

Chandan Yatra begins with Akshya Trutiya, the third day of the bright fortnight of Baisakha and ends 42 days later. During this time, the chariots for the Ratha Yatra festival are made. Chandan Yatra is divided into two periods of 21 days each. The first, the Bahar Chandan or Outer Chandan is marked by a procession in which deities of Rama, Krshna, Madanmohan, Laxmi and Vishwadhatri are taken to Narendra Kunda. They are accompanied by five deities of Shiva (from five different temples) known as Panchu Pandavas. Once They arrive at Narendra Kunda, the Deities play in beautifully decorated boats and are worshipped.

The second period of 21 days is called Bhitar Chandan. Various rites are performed inside the temple, out of view of the public.

Niladri Mahodaya

On the eighth day of the bright fortnight of Baisakha, 108 pots of water are offered to the Deities.

Nrisingha Janma

On the forteenth day of the bright fortnight of Baisakha, the deity of Narasimha is brought to the Jagannath Ballava Matha. Special rituals are then performed there.

Sitala Sasthi

The sixth day of the bright fortnight of Jyestha.

Rajendraviseka

The tenth day of the bright fortnight of Jyestha.

Rukmini Haran

The eleventh day of the bright fortnight of Jyestha.

Champak Dwadasi

The twelfth day of the bright fortnight of Jyestha, the second day of Rukmini Haran.

Navakalebara Ceremony

During the intercalary years (when an extra month is inserted to adjust the calendar), when there are two months of Ashadha in a year, the old images of Lord Jagannath, Lady Subhadra, Lord Balabhadra, Sudarshana and Neelamadhava are replaced with new ones. First, a group of Daitapatis, Deulakarans and others locate suitable trees from which they will obtain the wood for carving the Deities. Then, there are elaborate rituals involved with obtaining, transporting and carving the wood. Once the new images have been created, the spirit of God that inhabits the old image is transferred into the new image in a secret ceremony. Finally, the old images are buried inside the Temple compound, in a place known as Koili Vaikuntha.

 

This article is copied from the excellent site of Topics for Seekers by Richard Leighton.

 

Some interesting videos of rituals at Puri :-

Snana Yatra Vesha of Jaggan-Nathji
Snana Yatra

Gaja Vesha of Shri Jaggan Nathji

Ratha Yatra of the Lord of Puri

Suvarna Vesh of Shri Jaggan-Nathji on the last day of the Ratha Yatra (commentary in Oriya)

Ratha Yatra and Suvarna-Vesh (golden attire) of the Lord on His return to the inner temple (commentary in Hindi)

Gallery of the Lord Shri JagganNathji in His various festive attire.

 

Return to the Index of Sacred Sites

Return to the main Courtyard

 

bhagwat_s@yahoo.com