Bhubaneswar Buzz

Nabakalebar: Nepal and its special relationship with Jagannath Temple festival

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Nepal has an age old relationship with Shree Jagannath. The King of Nepal traditionally provided the ‘Kasturi’ (musk collected from Stag’s navel) used in rituals during the Nabakalebara. The have done it till the Nabakalebara of 1996, but have discontinued it from this Nabakalebara, as monarchy has ended in Nepal and the democratic government of Nepal does not want to continue with this tradition. As per tradition, the King of Nepal is also a Sevak of Shree Jagannath, just as the Gajapati of Puri.

The king of Nepal and his queen enjoy special privileges at the temple. As per the temple record of rights, the entire temple premises get washed – a ritual known as ‘soudha’, before the arrival of the Nepal royal couple. Authorities do not allow devotees to enter the temple premise. All the morning rituals of the temple are conducted in advance to facilitate them. Only a handful of temple servitors help the Nepal royal couple to perform rituals before the deities. The temple administration closes three gates and keeps open only the southern gate for the Nepalese king and queen to enter. Family priests of the king, known as ‘Lalmoharia Panda’, escort the couple to the sanctum sanctorum.

It is the Nepal king who has the privilege to perform rituals on the ‘Ratna Vedi,’ the throne of the deities inside the sanctum sanctorum. Except for a few senior temple priests, no other person is allowed to perform the ritual. This privilege of performing rituals in the Ratna Vedi (altar) is extended only to three people, Gajapati Maharaj of Puri, Shakaracharya of Puri and King of Nepal.

There is a Jagannath Temple at the Durbar Square in Kathmandu. Durbar Square is the square infront of the Royal Palaces and houses many superbly architectured temples and buildings. Running northeast is a second part of Kathmandu Durbar Square, this two-storied Jagannath Temple, built in the 16C is located. Exquisite wood-carvings embellish the doors, windows and roof struts, depicting Hindu gods. Erected in 1670, King Pratapa Malla’s column stands to the left of Jagannath temple.

Courtesy: Nabakalebar 2015 facebook page

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