Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Deva Snana Purnima : June 28 Thursday' 2018

Deva Snana Purnima also known as ‘Snana Yatra’ is an auspicious bathing festival for Lord Jagannath devotees. It is observed on the ‘Purnima’ (full moon day) of the ‘Jyeshtha’ month in the traditional Hindu calendar. Deva Snana Purnima is a significant ritual just prior to the world renowned Rath Yatra of the Jagannath Temple, in Puri. During this ritualistic bathing ceremony, the deities of the Jagannath Temple, namely, Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra are worshipped with full devotion and dedication. The ceremony is observed in a traditional way with full grandeur and is also one of the most anticipated rituals of the Lord Jagannath Temple. Some even observe this festival as the birthday of Lord Jagannath. Devotees from different parts of the country come and witness this unique event.

Significance of Deva Snana Purnima:

The festival of Deva Snana Purnima holds immense religious significance for Lord Jagannath devotees. According the Hindu legends, it is believed that during the ritualistic Snana Yatra, the deities get fever and take 15 days solitary confinement. The idols appear for public viewing, only after getting reenergized. As mentioned in the ‘Skanda Purana’, King Indradyumna arranged this bathing ceremony for the first time, after the deities were installed in the Jagannath Temple. The devotees of Lord Jagannath believe that by merely getting the ‘darshan’ of their lord on the day of Deva Snana Purnima, will free them from all their sins of present and past lives. Thousands and thousands of devotees, visit the Puri Jagannath Temple for this occasion, every year.

Rituals during Deva Snana Purnima:

On the day of Jyeshtha Purnima, the idols of Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra are taken put from the ‘Ratnasimhasan’ of the Jagannath Puri Temple, early in the morning.

The idols are escorted in a procession that is witnessed by thousands of devotees, and brought to the ‘Snana Bedi’ or the Bathing altar. This procession is called as ‘Pahandi’ procession that is bought alive with the sounds of chanting mantras and beat of ghantas, drums, bugles and cymbals.

The water used for bathing the deities is taken from the well, present inside the Jagannath Temple. Prior to the bathing ceremony, few puja and rituals are performed by the priests. A total of 108 pitchers of herbal and aromatic water are used to bath the three main deities of the Jagannath Temple.

After the completion of the bathing ceremony, the deities are then dressed up in ‘Sada Besha’. Later in the afternoon, the idols of Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra are dressed again as ‘Hathi Besha’ (as a form of Lord Ganesha). A special Bhog is prepared as offering to the Lord on the day of Deva Snana Purnima. Again in the evening, the deities appear for ‘Sahanamela’, to enable public viewing.

Later during the night, the three main deities retire to the ‘Anasar’ House, located in the temple complex. During the ‘Anasara’ period, the devotees cannot see their Gods. The idols of Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra then appear for public viewing only 15 days after, that is, the day just before the famous Rath Yatra.

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Sunday, 20 May 2018

Lord Lingaraj Temple

The Lingaraja temple is said to have been built first by the ruler Yayati Kesari in the 7th century who shifted his capital from Jaipur to Bhubaneshwar. Bhubaneshwar remained as the Kesari capital, till Nripati Kesari founded Cuttck in the 10th century. Inscriptions from the period of the Kalinga King Anangabhima III from the 13th century are seen here.

Structurally, the Parasurameswara temple at Bhubaneshwar is the oldest, dating back to the middle of the 8th century, and the Lingaraja is temple is assigned to the 10th century. The  nata mandir and the bhog mandir of the Lingaraja temple are of later origin.

Legend has it that Shiva revealed to Parvati that Bhubaneshwar - or Ekamra thirtha was a resort favoured by him over Benares. Parvati in the guise of a cowherd woman, decided to look at the city herself. Two demons Kritti and Vasa desired to marry her. She requested them to carry her upon their shoulders, and crushed them under her weight. Shiva, then created the Bindu Saras lake to quench her thirt, and took abode here as Krittivasas or Lingaraja.

The Temple: The vast Bindu Sagar lake is the center around which are located the multitude of temples of Bhubaneshwar.  The Lingaraja temple is located in  a spacious courtyard covering over 250000 sq feet and is bounded by fortified walls. Its tower rises up to 180 feet and is elaborately carved. 

The Shivalingam in the sanctum of the Lingaraja temple rises to a height of 8 inches above the floor level, and is 8 feet in diameter. The Bhagawati temple is located in the northwest corner of the courtyard. There are several other shrines and temples in this vast courtyard.

Worship: A total of 22 worship services are offered each day. Once a year, an image of Lingaraja is taken to the Jalamandir in the center of the Bindu Sagar lake.

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Sunday, 13 May 2018

Lord Lingaraj Prasad

The image of Lingaraja is abluted with water (called mahasnana) several times a day and decorated with flowers, sandal paste and cloth. Hemlock or hemlock flowers which are generally offered in other Shiva temples is not allowed in the Lingaraja temple. Bilva leaves (Aegle marmelos) and tulasi (Ocimum sanctum) are used in daily worship. Offerings of cooked rice, curries and sweets are displayed in the bhogamandapa (hall of offering) and the divinity is invoked to accept them amidst scores of chanting of Sanskrit texts. Coconut, ripe plantains and kora-khai are generally offered to Lingaraja by the pilgrims. Bhang beverage is offered to Lingaraja by some devotees especially on the day of Pana Sankranti (Odia new year).

The Lingaraja temple is open from 6 a.m. to about 9 p.m. and is intermittently closed during bhoga (food offering) to the deity. During early morning, lamps in the cella are lit to awaken Lingaraja from his sleep, ablution is performed, followed by adoration and arati (waving of light). The temple is closed at about 12 noon until about 3.30 p.m. A ceremony known as Mahasnana (ablution) is performed once the doors are closed, followed by pouring of Panchamrita (a mixture of milk, curdled milk, clarified butter, honey and ghee) upon the deity for purification. At about 1:00 p.m., a ripe plantain is divided into two, one half is offered to Sun god and the other half to Dwarapala (the guarding deities in the doorway). Between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. the food offering called Ballabha Bhoga (breakfast containing curdled milk, curd and vegetables) is offered to the deity. The consecrated food is carried to the temple of Parvati and placed before her as an offering, a practice commonly observed by the orthodox Hindu housewives. At about 2 p.m., the Sakala Dhupa (morning's offering of food) takes place. After the food is offered to Lingaraja, the offerings are carried to the temple of Parvati to serve her. An offering called Bhanda Dhupa is carried out at 3:30 p.m. at the hall of offering. This food is later offered by the inmates to the pilgrims as Mahaprasada.

A light refreshment known as Ballabha Dhupa is offered to the deity at around 4:30 p.m. At around 5:00 p.m., Dwipahar Dhupa (mid day meal) is offered. At around 7 p.m., another offering called Palia Badu is placed before the deity. Sandhya arati (waving of lights in the evening) is performed during that time. Another light meal called Sahana Dhupa is offered at around 8:30 p.m. After the meals, the ceremony of waving light (arati) is performed before the deity. At 9.30 p.m., the last service of the day, Bada Singara (the great decoration) is performed when the deity is decorated with flowers and ornaments after which a light food offering is made. A wooden palanquin is laid in the room, incense is lighted, drinking water is served and prepared betel is placed. Panchabaktra Mahadeva comes to the palanquin and returns to his own abode after the arati is performed. This is a bronze image of Mahadeva having five faces and Parvati in his lap. Each of these ceremonies is accompanied by ritual observances and recitations of mantras (Sanskrit texts) specified for each occasion.

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Thursday, 10 May 2018

Services Rendered By Various Mathas in Lord Jagannath Dham, Puri

1. Emar Matha: Provides Chamara and Canopy Seva.Chandrika made of flower are supplied daily.

2. Uttar Parswa Matha : Offers daily Mohan Bhoga (made of coarse flour and sugar) to distribute among the devotees.

3. Trimali Matha : Offers Bhoga during Chandan Yatra.

4. Raghabadas Matha : Offers Bhoga at the time of Ballav (Morning Tiffin), Chamar and Alata seva. Hativesa on the day of Snana Purnima.

5. Jaganath Ballav Matha : Associates with many rituals of Lord, such as Ramanabami, Dola Yatra, Dayanachori, Lakha Vindha, Dussahara. Provides lotus flower for decoration of Lord and ornaments made of flower.

6. Govardhan Matha : Chief of Muktimandap Pandit Sabha and gives final opinion on Niti and rituals of Sri Jagannath temple.

7. Badachhata Matha : Alata and Chamar Seva,Kirtan at the time of daily Puja, and Chandan Yatra, to recite some traditional songs at the time of Mangal arati and Bada singhar.

8. Radhakanta Matha : Cleaning of Gundicha temple before Car Festival.

9. Jhanjapita Matha : Offers seva and puja at the lotus feet of Lord inside the compound wall of the temple.

10. Bada Odia Matha : Provides Ballav Bhoga (Morning Tiffin) of Lord. Alata and Chamar Seva.

11. Dakhinaparswa Matha : Canopy Seva and Chamar Seva.

12. Revasa Matha : Alata and Chamar Seva.

13. Gangamata Matha : Alata and Chamar Seva.

14. Radhavallav Math a : Alata and Chamar Seva.

15. Ramji Matha : Alata and Chamar Seva.

16. Sana Chhata Matha : Alata and Chamar Seva.

17. Goswami Matha : Alata and Chamar Seva.

18. Venkatachari Matha : Alata and Chamar Seva.

19. Nua Matha : Alata and Chamar Seva.

20. Mangu Matha : Alata and Chamar Seva.

21. Labanikhia Matha : Sports of Lord during Krishna Janma.

22. Kapadia Matha : Provides dress materials.

23. Dasavatar Matha : Cultural function

24. Sunagoswami Matha : Flower garlands for decoration.

25. Sivatirtha Matha : Provides tooth brush for Lord.

26. Mahiprakash Matha : Provides tooth brush.

27. Darpanarayan Matha : Offers flower garlands.

28. Gopaltirtha Matha : Hati Vesha for Lord Balabhadra.

29. Rani Matha : Provides decorated Tahia

30. Nandimata Matha : To stick jari in patta

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Sunday, 6 May 2018

Rath Yatra Facts : The Festival Of Chariots

1 The Jagannath Temple of Odisha is one of the few orthodox Hindu temples in India where only the followers of Hinduism are allowed to enter the premises and offer prayers. The people of other religious sects cannot catch a glimpse of the Lord as they get access till the doorstep of the premises no matter how ardent devotees they are, except on some special days. However, the door of the Puri Jagannath Temple is open to all, irrespective of caste and religion, during the Rath Yatra Festival. The people of different Indian communities can worship the Lord and get blessed.

2 Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra – the three deities of the Jagannath Temple – travel in three different chariots. That is why Ratha Yatra is also called the Festival of Chariots. Their chariots are named Nandighosha, Taladhwaja and Devadalana respectively. Lord Jagannath’s Chariot Nandighosha runs on as many as 18 wheels, while 16 wheels drive Lord Balaram’s Chariot Taladhwaja, and Subhadra’s Chariot Padmadhwaja has 14 wheels.

3 One of the most interesting facts of Rath Yatra is that the chariots of the deities are newly constructed every year. New materials including wood are used in construction. However, the model, structure, design and dimensions of the chariots remain invariable. Four wooden horses are attached to the front of each chariot.

4 The top of the chariots of Lord Jagannath and other two deities resembles the structure of a Hindu temple. The chariots are pulled with ropes by hundreds of devotees and pilgrims, which makes an inspirational spectacle of devotion and enthusiasm. Canopies for the chariots are made of almost 1200 meters of cloth. A team of 15 tailors make the canopies.

5 According to those who have been to the Rath Yatra Festival of Odisha and have pulled the chariots, Lord Jagannath seems to refuse moving initially when the festivity begins, no matter how many hundreds of people push from behind and pull from the front. Lord Jagannath’s Chariot seems to stand still despite massive push and pull. The Lord agrees to go ahead and His chariot starts moving only after a few hours of cosmic effort.  It sounds offbeat. If the onlookers are believed, it is incredibly true.

6 The monarchy system of India has faded into the past long back. But it is believed that the Majesty of Puri is there, and that Lord Jagannath walks out of temple for the ceremonious journey after the path is swept by the mythical king of Puri with a broom made of gold.

7 Lord Jagannath and His siblings take a halt on the way back to their own abode after a stay at the Gundicha Temple for 9 days. Poda Pitha, a popular dessert in Odisha, is a favorite of the Lords. They find it irresistible to have a bite of their favorite dish during the return journey.

8 Do you know why the main door of the Puri Jagannath Temple is kept shut for one week prior to the festival? The presiding deity Lord Jagannath is believed to catch high fever and, therefore, have rest at this time. That is why the sanctum sanctorum is not open to the public for this brief period. Once the period of rest is over, the Lord takes a break and travels to his maternal aunt’s house for a change.

9 The Puri Jagannath Temple of Odisha is one of the few Indian temples which the deities are taken out of during festivities. Lord Raghunath, the presiding deity of Kullu in Himachal Pradesh, is brought from Sultanpur Temple in the palace of King of Kullu to the festival ground during the Dussehra Festival of Kullu. Similarly, the idols of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwarar are taken out of the Meenakshi Temple for a ceremonious boat ride across the lake on the King Thirumalai Nayak’s birth anniversary during the Float Festival of Madurai.

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Friday, 4 May 2018

The interesting Flag ritual ...

This is an interesting ritual associated with the Jagannath Temple. In this ritual, a priest climbs the dome of the Jagannath Temple, which is believed to be as high as 45 story building and changes the flag of the temple every day. According to this ritual, if this is not practiced any day, the temple needs to be closed down for next 18 years.

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Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Monasteries(Mathas) in Puri ; Part-1

Gobardhan Matha

Gobardhana Matha located in Swargadwar is one of the oldest matha in Puri and was founded by Adi Sankaracharya in the 8th century A.D., a centre of learning and culture, an exponent of monism. It is one of the four monasteries (Dhamas) established by Adi Sankaracharya in four corners of India. Adi Sankara who lived around 8th century A.D. is said to have performed a miracle under a Banyan tree beside the chilika lake, where the idol of Lord Jagannath was kept hidden by His disciples to save from the attacks of the enemies. Sankara could intuitively know the presence of the idol of Jagannath and spontaneously composed the famous verse which begins with 'Jagannath Swami Nayana Pathagami Bhabatu Me'. The priests of Jagannath temple used to be trained at the Sankaracharya Matha and only after obtaining a certificate from the matha were eligible to enter into priesthood and perform worship in the temple, but now this function is being performed by the Mukti Mandapa.

Odia Matha

This Matha was established by Atibadi Jagannath Das of the 15th century A.D., who was a great religious poet and composed the Odia 'Bhagabata'. The image of Atibadi Jagannath Das is preserved in this matha. Atibadi Jagannath Das was the intimate disciple of Sri Chaitanya and the founder of the Atibadi sect of Vaishnavism. The Odia matha makes arrangement for the Pankti Bhoga in the Jagamohana during Rukminiharan festival and supplies Kala Sari (black cloth) to Goddess Vimala. It is also vested with the duty of cleaning the Ratnavedi and supplying of canopy for the inner sanctuary and the Lord's Pillows. The math provides trimundi chandua and silk clothes for Chaka apasara, till oil for Phooluri neeti, oil and ghee for Deva deepawali. It also repairs Kanakamundi, offers Chakata bhoga in Anasara and adharpana bhoga and Panti bhoga on certain days. On the day of Neeladri bije, the Mahanta makes manjana of ratnavedi.

Jagannath Ballav Math

Located on the Grand road, this is closely connected with some important religious rites of the main temple of Lord Jagannath. Ray Ramananda Pattanayak, the contemporary of Sri Chaitanya and a great scholar, author of the 'Clut of Devotion' and also a great administrator, used to stay here in the midst of a beautiful garden from which flowers are sent to the Jagannath temple everyday. During the Dayanalagi festival the deities of Rama and Krishna are taken in procession to this matha, here the deities get their Dayana leaves from the garden of the matha. It supplies kora (a sweet) for Kaliya Dalana Vesha and Pralambasura Badha Vesha.

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