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Deities at Jagannath temple in Puri replaced after 19 years in elaborate ceremony

The Nabakalebara (re-embodiment) of the fours deities, replacing the old idols with new ones - is an elaborate process in which they relinquish their old bodies and assume a new one.

Written by Debabrata Mohanty | Puri | Updated: June 17, 2015 8:05 am
puri jagannath, jagannath, puri news, new idols at jagannath temple, jagannath puri, jagannath, jagannath temple news, orissa news, bubhaneshwar news Thousands of devotees at the Jagannath temple in Puri. (Source: Express photo)

The four deities in the 12th century Jagannath temple in Puri were replaced on Tuesday with new ones after 19 years with four temple servitors infusing life into them, marking the end of the two and half month old process of Nabakalebara festival.

“The events since last night is most significant part of the Nabakalebara, during which the soul of the Lord was transferred,” said chief servitor of the temple, Gajapati Maharaj Dibyasingh Dev, who participated in some parts of ritual last night inside the temple. The Nabakalebara (re-embodiment) of the fours deities, replacing the old idols with new ones – is an elaborate process in which they relinquish their old bodies and assume a new one.

The Nabakalebara is observed in a gap of 12 to 19 years. The last time Nabakalebara happened in 1996. The Nabakalebara process started on March 29 with the servitor starting their journey for the search of neem trees from which the idols were carved. This time, the neem trees were found in Jagatsinghpur and Khurda districts.

Four Badagrahis (body protector-cum-servitors) transferred soul from the old idols into the new idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Goddess Subhadra and Lord Sudarshan made from neem wood this afternoon after an elaborate ritual that started last night. Though it was supposed to happen at night under cover of darkness, the process was inordinately delayed as the carved idols could not be made ready before midnight. Since last night the temple was shut for everyone except 100-odd servitors who took part in the process till the gates opened at 5.20 pm.

puri jagannath, jagannath, puri news, new idols at jagannath temple, jagannath puri, jagannath, jagannath temple news, orissa news, bubhaneshwar news

“It was an emotional moment for us,” said Jagannath Swain Mohapatra, one of the four servitors who transferred the Brahmapadartha(soul) from the old idol to the new. “It was a very difficult task to do as we had to bid goodbye to the old idols.” Mohapatra did the ritual for Lord Jagannath.

During the transfer of the soul, eyes and hands of the servitors were covered with cloth-bands so that they can’t touch and see the Brahmapadarthas at the time of their transfer. The old idols were buried in Koilibaikuntha (also known as the graveyard of the deities) area of the temple premises. Like post-death rituals in Hindu households, the servitors who took part in last night’s event, would get tonsured after 10 days and mourn the death of old idols. “It’s unparallelled anywhere in the world,” said the Gajapati Maharaj.

Since last night, thousands of devotees lined the Grand Road leading to the temple, lighting wick lamps.

The new idols would be open to public view on July 18, the day of Rath Yatra. Though the idols were supposed to be open for public viewing on July 17 on the day of Nabajouban besha, this time the temple administration decided against it.

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    Chinmay Prasad
    Jun 4, 2016 at 3:36 pm
    Shred Jagannath temple is the most important and attractive place at puri,, it's heaven of beggar and also for us.. My god bless to all of us.
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      Divya teza
      Feb 27, 2016 at 9:59 am
      I never knew about this found it fascinating..it is like saying matter wether living and non living have life and leaving behind these is really difficult yet not impossible
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      1. R
        rocky
        Jun 16, 2015 at 8:57 pm
        These silly rituals by ignorant and devious pandas has been keeping our Aryavrat in darkness for centuries. Buddha was probably the earliest reformer in Hinduism who had to make such a drastic statement that there is no God. Your own karma is what determines who you are and what you will be. Of course subsequent reformers like Kabir and Nanak implored us to give up mere rituals.
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          Arijit
          Jun 26, 2015 at 9:12 pm
          @Rohit from Mumbai, Very well written brother. God Bless You.
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          1. K
            Kaliyug
            Jun 17, 2015 at 1:00 am
            Whatever that means that they transferred the old soul into the new deity, Nothing to do with God, just drama to make money out of the sinners who loot the world in the mornings and go to the temples in the evenings.
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