Home STATE Legal hurdles delay procurement of sandalwood, musk for Nabakelabara in Odisha

Legal hurdles delay procurement of sandalwood, musk for Nabakelabara in Odisha


Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Jan 26:

Legal hurdles have delayed procurement of two essential ingredients, sandalwood and musk used while replacing images of the deities of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra with new ones during the Nabakalebara  festival to be held this year at the Shree Jagannath temple in Odisha’s pilgrim town Puri.


A team of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) recently returned back from a tour of Koraput district after making a survey of sandalwood trees in the forests there and discussions with Forest department officials over its procurement. This apart, another team from the SJTA is scheduled to visit Angul district for surveying sandalwood trees in the district’s forest.

SJTA’s efforts to procure sandalwood from within the state was undertaken after a team of the SJTA that had gone to Tamil Nadu informed that the Forest department of that state in its preliminary information to have stated that because of legal problems providing 10 quintals of sandalwood suddenly for Nabakalebar of the Lords may be delayed.

Another exotic ingredient Kasturi, or musk is an essential component and is an important requirement in the Nabakalebara  process of the Lords.

The “pure and natural Kasturi ” used for the rituals at the Shree Mandir  always come as a customary gift from Nepal’s Hindu king, who has  had an institutional and longstanding  relationship with not only the Shree Jagannath temple but also the grand event in Puri.

However, the fall of the institution of monarchy in the Himalayan country has put an end to the centuries old practice.

Musk is obtained from a gland of the male musk deer which are a gravely endangered species and is banned item in India. The substance has been used as a popular perfume fixative since ancient times and is one of the most expensive animal products in the world.

Natural musk
Natural musk

Unable to procure it from any other source, the SJTA has written to the Centre to procure it from Nepal for the Nabakalebara festival since October last year but the SJTA is yet to get a reply in this regard from the Centre, said sources in the SJTA.

The last time that the SJTA received ‘kasturi’ from the Nepal royal family was in 2002 and the stock has been completely exhausted, said sources.

Also there were plans to use sandalwood seized by the state’s Forest departments at different places but daitapatis and other servitors refused to use it because of its poor quality.

These two exotic ingredients and several other ingredients as per tradition need to be procured before the Banajaga Yatra which precedes the Nabakalebara.

Nabakalebara ceremony takes place through certain phases i.e. Banajaga Yatra or searching of Daru (neem trees), transportation of Daru,carving of images, consecration, Abhiseka of Nyasadaru and fire sacrifice, change of Brahmapadartha, burial of old images, infusion of life to images etc.