Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, June 5:
The process for carving of new idols (antah banajaga rituals) of the presiding deities of Shree Jagannath temple in Odisha’s holy town Puri will begin with the start of the 11-day long mahayagna in the Koili Baikuntha inside the temple premises today.
In line with the age-old custom associated with the Nabakalebara process of the Lords, Puri king Gajapati Maharaja Dibya Singha Deb, considered the first sevak (servitor) of Lord Jagannath, handed over a betel nut (srihasta chhuan gua) to the Rajguru (royal counselor) at the Sri Nahar (King’s palace), symbolizing royal authorization to go ahead with the process for carving of new idols of the deities.
The mahayagna will begin after the barana rituals (reception with utmost respect) of stotriya Brahmins (Brahmins competent in chanting of invocations), Biswabasu and Vidyapati of the Banajaga Yatra team, Biswakarmas (carpenters) and others.
With the mahayagna will begin carving of the new idols by the Biswakarma servitors after completion of suta mapa (measurement of the mahadarus) by the Daitapati servitors in conformity with the practices mentioned in the tomes.
The stotriya Brahmins have already brought Lord Nursingha to martya (earth) during the Bahibanajaga yatra by their invocations at the time of holding of mahayagnas at the darusthalis before the felling of the darus.
The entire process will be done in complete secrecy with none other than those associated with the rituals allowed to have a view of things. Even the sound of the tools used for carving of the idols will not be heard outside. Temporary barricades have been erected using palm leaves in the Koilibaikuntha area of the temple to keep the process completely out of public view. Moreover, drums and gongs will be constantly sounded to make the inside sound inaudible to outsiders.
“On the forthcoming Asadha krushna chaturdasi, purnaahuti will be held. The 11-day long mahayagna that will begin today will culminate with purnaahuti. Except for those connected with the rituals, no one else is allowed to enter Koilibaikuntha during this period. Biswakarma servitors, under the guidance of Daitapati servitors, will carve the new idols. Apart from the rituals at Koilibaikuntha, yagnas and other rituals will be held at all shrines inside and outside the Shree Mandir in Puri,” informed Dr Siddheswar Mohapatra, a senior priest and research scholar on Jagannath culture.
A senior priest of the temple said a patha pranta homa (yagna to relieve the tiredness of the mahadarus because of the long journeys they had undertaken during the Banajaga Yatra) was held at Koilibaikuntha yesterday. Moreover, the ankuraropan ritual of the mahayagna has been complete and other preparations are on and it will start in a short while, he added.
On the other hand, making of chariots is in full swing at the ratha khala for the Rath Yatra of the Lords.