Nagarjuna Besha of Lord Jagannath and his siblings held at Puri

After a gap of 26 years, Nagarjuna Besha of Lord Jagannath and his siblings at Puri Jagannath took place today. The Nagarjuna Besha ritual happens only in the years when the ‘Panchuka’, the last five days of the holy month of Kartika (Lunar Calendar), is observed for six days. At 2.45 am, the Dwara Phita ceremony was held, which was followed by Bhitara Sodha, Mangala Alati, Mailam, Tadapalagi, Naga Besha and Abakasha Niti. The deities were dressed in golden attire and decorated with 16 types of mythical weapons, including Trishul (trident), Hala (plough), Chakra (wheel), Musala (mace), arrows and bows to celebrate the slaying of Shahasrajuna by Parasurama.

Predicting a massive rush of devotees on the occasion of Nagarjuna Besha of the Trinity, the district administration had imposed Section 144 around Sri Jagannath temple and a portion of Puri Grand Road till Marichikot temple. Twenty-five platoons of the police force, two Assistant SPs and seven Deputy SPs had been deployed to ensure steady conduct of ritual without the participation of devotees.

The schedule of the “Nagarjuna Besha” ritual is mentioned below:

  • At around 2 am, prayers of the arms and armours were conducted at the house of Chakrakot Khuntia. The armours were venerated with a special puja called ‘Varuna Puja’ and then ‘Pushpanjali’ was performed in a closed chamber. The armours were then brought into the Srimandir in a colossal procession with gongs, bells and clarinets.
  • At 2.45 am, in the presence of five servitor groups – Bhitarachhu Mohapatra, Muduli, Pratihari, Akhaanda Mekap and Palia Mekap – the Srimandir Record-of-Rights, ‘Dwaraphita’, the opening of the entrance door of ‘Garbhagriha’ of the temple was performed.
  • The ‘Mailam’, ‘Abakas’, and ‘Mangala Alati’ rituals were performed after the ‘Dwaraphita’ ceremony. The costumes of Lord Balabhadra and Lord Jagannath were brought to the ‘Ratna Singhasan’ which is the divine throne of the sibling deities.
  • At 4.45 am, all ‘Nitis’ or the rituals for ‘Nagarjuna Besha’ concluded.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s grand ritual celebration was muted and performed in presence of servitors and temple officials only.

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