Shree Jagannath is considered to be a living God, his lifestyle at the temple is also of a living being. He lives like a King will live in today’s times.
This lifestyle of His, gives way to lots of nitis (rituals) at the temple on a daily basis. He does everything that a common human does, from brushing teeth to bathing to enjoying 56 types of savories to having a bettle after his dinner to digest his food. This forms a large part of the Jagannath Sankriti (Jagannath Cult). This is a long post, but worth reading.
Daily nitis (rituals) of Shree Jagannath :
1. Dwarafita (Opening of the door) –
The day begins with waking up the Lord and opening the gates of the temple. Dwara means gate and fita means opening. This ritual is scheduled everyday before the dawn breaks, i.e. before 5 AM. On some specific ocassions, like the period between Ashwin Ekadashi & Kartik Purnima and between Dhanu Sankaranti and Makara Sankranti, the Dwarafita is done between 2-3 AM.
For this ritual, the presence of 5 sevayats is necessary, viz. Bhitarchu Mahapatra, Pratihari, Muduli, Akhanda Mekap and Palia Mekap. They first inspect the seal on the padlock put the previous night on the Jay-VIjay Dwar. After they are satisfied that the lock is intact, it is opened. Thereafter, the Kalahat (Chamu Dwara_ is opened. The Pratihari calls loudly Manima, Manima… (Manima is used to address a King by his subjects in Odisha) to wake up the Lord. After the opening of the doors, the santum santorum is purified using sacred water. All this while, bhajans in praise of the Lord are sung acocmpanied by dhols and cymbals
The Dwarafita is followed by the Mangal Arati. The Arati of Lord Jagannath is performed by Bhitarchu Mahapatra, and of Lord Subhadra and Balabhadra by 2 Pushpalakas. Two aratis are perofrmed, first with karpur (camphor) called the Karpur Arati, which is followed by Pistak Arati, which is performed using a lamp with 21 wicks. Pilgrims can attend the Mangal Arati.
Mangal Arati is followed by Mailam (Changing Clothes). In this ritual, the dresses, flowers and other decorations are removed. 3 Puspalaks, Khuntia, Changada Mekap and Dhoba (a Brahmin Dhoba) are involved in this ritual. All three Puspalaks go up to the RatnaSinghasana and remove the decorations, dresses and flowers of the deities. At the time of Mailam, flowers; Tulasi etc. are removed; which are then equally distributed between Khuntia and Puspalak, for further distribution as Prasad to the devotees. The deities are then dressed with Tadap and Uttariya. All the four deities then wear a Tadapeach deity; Lord Jagannath & Balabhadra wear a Uttariya each along with the Tadap. The dresses removed from the dieties are washed daily by a Sevayat named Dhoba (Washerman). This Dhoba is a Brahmin by caste and has the duty to wash the clothes of the deities everyday.
The Mailam is followed by Abakash. Lord Jagannath, as stated earlier is a Jianta Thakura (Living God) and therefore does all the morning abulations just like normal human beings. This includes cleaning of his teeth, scrapping of tounge and then bathing. The Abakash Puja is done by 3 Pushpalaks. All these rituals are symbolic. Neem twigs and tongue cleaner are shown to the Lords with appropriate mudras as if they are actually brushing their teeth and cleaning their tongue. Then a panchamrita, consisting of Water mixed with Camphor, Amala, Sandalpaste, Milk and Curd is poured on the reflection of the dieties on bronze framed mirrors which are placed infront of them. All along, vedic mantras are constantly chanted. It is also called the Mantra Snana.
This is followed by the bathing of Garuda, in the Natya Mandap. Garuda is bathed with Chunera Pani (Lime Water). The Panchamrita used to bathe the deities and the Chunera Pani used to bathed Garuda are then distributed among the devotees as prasada.
After the Snana, the Khuri Nayak (Astrologer to the Lord) explains the Lord about Tithi and the different planetary positions. On special occassions, like important days of other deities, the Khuri Nayak also undertakes Nakshatra Bandapana, which is detailed explanation of the importance of the day.
The Sevayats engaged for the purpose are — Puspalak, Suar Badu, Pani-apat, Khatuli Sebak, Darpania, Mukha Pakhal Padhiari, Mukha Pakhal Pasupalak, Aanla Ghatuari, Bhandar Mekap, Mahabhoi and Khuri Nayak (Temple Astrologer).
The materials required are — wooden cot, purified water, Khatuli, soft neem twigs, tongue cleaners, three vessels, flower, tulasi; bronze framed mirrors and water storage vessels.
During this ritual, pilgrims are not allowed inside the Sanctum Sanctorum but they can view all the rituals standing at a distance from the barricade called the Bhitara Katha Argali.
After Abakash the deities are dressed with Baralagi Khanduas. Then Akhand Mekap places the Akhanda Baitha, (perpetual lamp) near the RatnaSinghasana, which remains burning for whole day and night.
Abakash is generally followed by Sahana Mela (Public Darshan). For one hour, the deities offer darshan to the devotees. The timing of the Sahana Mela changes many times during the course of the year.
The Sahana Mela is followed by Beshalagi, in which the deities are clad with different apparels, flowers, ornaments etc. The attire of the deities change during Beshalagi as per the different festivals. This ritual is done by the Pushpalak Sevaks
Rosh Homa, Surya Puja, Dwarpal & Garuda Puja
The Beshalagi ritual is followed by the Rosha Homa (Fire Sacrifice – Rosha comes from Rosei – Kitchen) in the temple kitchen near the Kotha Chuli. This ritual should be performed by the Deula Purohit (as per the Record of Rights) but die to some reason, it is performed by the Puja Pandas. After the Rosha Homa, Surya Puja is done in the Surya Mandir (near the Mukti Mandap) by the same sevayats. This is followed by offering of Bhoga and Puja to the Dwarpals – Jaya & Vijaya – called the Dwarpal Puja. This is performed by the Palia Puja Panda. Thereafter Bhoga and Puja is offered to Garuda, the
charioteer of the Lord.
Gopal Ballav Bhoga Puja
Now that the Rosha Homa is done, the kitchens start preparing breakfast for the Lords.This Bhoga is served in Anabasra Pindi outside the sanctum. Puja is undertaken by the Pujapandas in Panchopchar system. The items
offered are Paga Khai; coconut-sugar-plum; sweet bananas; Khuarnanda curd: butter and small coconut pieces etc. 3 Puja Pandas, a Sudu Suara, Ballavjogania, Charcha Paika, Suarbadu, Patribadu, Garabadu, Palia Mahasuar and Pradhani are involved in this ritual. During Dhanu Masa, (which falls during December and January) Ballav Bhoga and Pahili Bhoga are taken up together. Similarly, on Dolapurnima and Snanapurnami Ballav and Sakal dhoop are taken up together.
The regular breakfast of the Lords is called the Sakal Dhoop. The menu for the breakfast includes – Kanika, Tata Khichdi, Lukhura Khichdi, Mendha Mundia, Bada Kanti, Sana Kanti, Mathpuli, Hansapuli, Pitha Puli, Jhili, Enduri, Adapachidi, Saga, Bhaja, etc.
32 types of Sevavats such as Suarbadu, Dhukudidwar Pratihari, Paniapat, Pradhani Sevak, Pujapanda, Pratihari, Palia Mahasuar, Pantibadu, Rosh Paika, Palia Patri, Garahadu, Changada Mekap, Patribadu, Muduli,
Chandan Ghatuari, Parikha Badu, Palia Mekap, Parikhya [Rajguru], Palia Mahari, Palia Madeli, Jhanjapitali, Hadapa Nayak, Bidiajogania, Bojhia, Sudu Suar, Puran Panda, Gochikar, Dakhina Dwar Padhiari, Dwari Nayak, Ghantua and Bajantri render their assistance during the Sakal Dhoopa
These items are prepared by Kotha Bhoga Supakars. This Prasad is distributed among the Temple Sevayats (also called ‘Khei’) for the services rendered by them in the
Sakal Dhoop is again followed by Mailam – Change of Clothes.
Then the second round Dhoop of the deities are arranged within the Bhogamandop behind the Garud Stambha, its scheduled time is 11 AM. The materials used and the expenditure incurred for this bhog is not met by the temple administration. Prasad in huge quantities is offeredin Bhogamandap to meet the requirements of the pilgrims and the local people. Puja is done by three Pujapandas under Panchopachar system.
There is no specification of items and no restriction
of quantities to be offered. Prasad is cooked by Supakars based on the assessment of pilgrims expected to visit on a particular day and requisitions obtained from the public. Mahaprasad out of Bhogamandap Puja are meant for public sale only.
The Sevayats who assist in this Puja are Palia Puspalak, Changada Mekap, Palia Mekap, Bhogamandop Pratihari, Suar Badu, Bhogamandap Dwar Pratihari, Suar, Mahasuar, Mekap Khuntia, Patri Badu, Garabadu and
Madhyana Dhoop is the lunch served to the deities just after noon. This ritual is performed at the Pokharia below the RatnaSinghasana. The method of this Puja is
3 Pujapandas sit on the RatnaSinghasana to take up the Puja. The sevayats involved are the same ones who performed the Sakal Dhoop. Materials used for preparation of Prasad are provided by temple administration.
Usually, the items offered are Arisa, Pitha Puli, Tipuri, Mathpuli: kakara, Chadheilada, Tata Manohar, Khairachula: Marichaladu, Pheni, Takua, Gaja, BiriBadi, Anna, Muga Dali, Pitianna Oria, MarichaPani, Khiri, SubashPakhal, Sakara, Pana, etc.
On completion of the Bhog, Arati is performed.
After the Madhyana Dhoop, it’s time for Madhyahna Pahuda – a siesta.
Four Ratna Palankas i.e. Beds are arranged and kept below the RatnaSinghasana by Khatseja Mekap. Badadwar Padhiari invites the deities Manima Manima; please come down from RatnaSinghasana and take rest
on ‘Ratna Palankas.’ Thereafter the Kalahat, Beharan and Jay-Bijay doors are closed.
Though this ritual is supposed to be performed everyday, but this Pahuda is being operated only for a few days in the months of Kartika and Pausha (Pahilibhoga period). The system is generally
being ignored due to delay in daily programmes.
Sandhya Arati (Evening Arati) of Sri Jagannath is performed by Talachhu Mahapatra. The Aratis of Sri Balabhadra and Sri Subhadra are performed by two Puspalakas. Two aratis are perofrmed, first with karpur (camphor) called the Karpur Arati, which is followed by Pistak Arati, which is performed using a lamp with 21 wicks.
The Sevayats engaged are Bhitarchu Mahapatra, Palia Mekap, Akhanda Mekap, Muduli, Khatsej Mekap, Palia Pusupalak, Garabadu, Talicha Mahapatra and Khuntia.
After the Sandhya Arati, its time for evening refreshments of the deities. The place of Puja is Pokharia, below the RatnaSInghasana. The system is Sodasopachar and the Prasad is arranged on behalf of the Temple Administration. The Sevayats engaged in Sakal and Madhyahna Dhoop perform this Dhoop also.
The foods offered to the deities are Kaanla Puli, Takua, MathPuli, Bhoga Pitha, Gotali, Bada Kakara, Sana Kakara, Luna Khuruma, Amalu, Suar Pitha, Rosh Paika Hiribuha, Jhadeinada, Subash Pakhal, Sana & Bada Kadamba etc.
After this, the Dhoop Arati is performed by three Pujapandas in three silver pots. Five varieties of Aratis are made during this ritual. This Arati is named as Jayamangal Arati – Arati for the betterment of the universe.
Mailam & Chandanlagi
After the Sandhya Dhoop, the dresses of the deities are changed. The deities are adorned with Chandanlagi Vesha, in which they are smeared with Sandal Paste mixed with Karpur (camphor).
The Sevayats involved in this ritual are Suar Badu, Puspalak, Ghatuari, Muduli, Palia Mekap, Palia Padhiari, Garabadu, HadapNaik and Palia Khuntia.
BadaShringara Vesha and BadaShringara Dhoop
The BadaShringara Vesha is the most beautiful Vesha of the day. The deities look enchanting in the colorful floral decoration. The deities are clad with Baralagi Patas [Traditional Odia ‘tie and dye’ silk clothes]. Jayadeva’s GitaGovinda is woven into them. Special adornments like KaraPallab, Kundala, Tadiga, Chandrika etc. are used to adorn the deities.
BadaShringara Dhoop is the last Bhog of the day. Three
Puja Pandas below the Ratna Simhasan offer the Puja with Panchopachar. The foods offered are Pure Ghee (in a silver container), Kadali Bada, Khiri, Sakara, Pitha and Kanji. There is no provision of Arati after this Bhog.
Khata Seja Lagi
This is the routine symbolic ritual of the deities going to bed.The Sayana Thakur – a joint image of Laxmi and Narayan with eight hands, made of gold; is brought from Bhandar Griha (stor room) and placed by the side of Sri Jagannath. Green coconut and Bidia Pana (betel) are offered to the deities. Karpur Arati is performed by the Puspalakas just below the RatnaSinghasana. Devdasis sing devotional songs near the Kalahat door within the Jagamohan. In the meantime three small bejewelled beds (Ratna Palankas) are placed in front of the deities below the RatnaSinghasana. Sayana Thakur is further shifted from Ratnavedi to Jay-Bijay door and placed on a big Dambaru. Green coconut and Bidia betel are again offered and Puspanjali is offered by Palia khuntia. Sayana Thakur is then taken back to Ratna Palanka of Lord Jagannath kept there for a while in a symbolic sleeping position and finally taken back to the Bhandar Griha.
Thereafter the temple is totally vacated. All the doors are closed and sealed.
Courtesy: Nabakalebar 2015 page
Also Read: Ratna Bhandar of Jagannath Temple Puri Odisha