Orissa News
 
 
SET OUR LINK
ON YOUR
BLOG OR SITE

Naba Kalebara of Lord Jagannath

Nabakalebar is assocaited with the chnaging of the images of Lord JagannathOne of the most grandiloquent events associated with the Lord Jagannath, Naba Kalabera takes place when one lunar month of Ashadha is followed by another lunar month of Aashadha. This can take place in 8, 12 or even 18 years. Literally meaning the “New Body” (Naba = New, Kalebar = Body), the festival is witnessed by as many 8,00,000 people and the budget for this event exceeds $500,000.The event involves installation of new images in the Jagnnath temple and burial of the old ones in the temple premises at Koili Baikuntha. The idols that are currently being worshipped in the temple of Jagannath Puri  were installed in the year 1996.

Elaborate rituals, numerous myths and several celestial incidents are attached to this auspicious affair which fans religious fervour across orissa. The exact procedure of the transformation of images have been mentioned in the Sanskrit manuscripts written on palm leaves which are kept in the temple. Only the three head priests of the temple have the sole responsibility of reading and interpreting them.

As the images of Lord Jagannath must be made of wood, the priests must first locate an appropriate tree. As a rule, Neem (Margossa) trees are used to carve out the images of Lord Jagannath. Now no ordinary Neem (Margossa) tree can be used for this purpose. The tree which will be used has to fulfill many conditions. Lord Jagannath is dark in color. So the neem tree from which his idol is to be carved out should be dark; whereas the trees which would be used for the idols of his brother and sister are lighter in color; as his siblings are fair! The Neem tree for Lord Jagannath must have four principal branches – symbolizing four arms of Narayana. There must be a water body near the tree – like a river or a large pond and a cremation ground nearby. An ant-hill should be close to the tree and at the roots of the tree there mist be a snake-pit of a cobra. No bird must have made nests in the tree; and no branches would have broken or cut. The tree has to be located near a three-way or would be surrounded by three mountains. No creepers must have grown on the tree and there have to be Varuna, Sahada and Billva trees (these three trees are not very common) close by. There have to be a hermitage and a temple of Lord Shiva in the vicinity. The most amazing requirement is, on the tree trunk there must be natural impressions of conch-shell and chakra (wheel)!

Apart from the regulation associated with the selection of tree, there are various rituals associated for locating the same and bringing it to the temple premises. These are mentioned in details below:

Rituals associated with the Naba Kalebara

The countdown to the Naba Kalebara of Lord Jagannath starts with the formation of the search party that would go out to locate the “Holy Tree”.The search party consists of

  • 1 member of the Pati Mahapatra family
  • 20 Dayitapatis
  • 1 Lenka
  • 9 Maharanas
  • 16 Brahmanas
  • 3 Dculkaranas
  • 30 police officers &
  • 2 inspectors of police

The function begins after the Big Midday Offering to Lord Jagannath. The blessings of the Lord is sought.A twelve foot garland called Dhanva Mala made specially for this day is offered to the lord and His siblings. After worshipping the Lord, the garland is given to the Pati Mahapatra family, who is meant to lead the procession. He would from then on carry the huge garland until the sacred tree is located. Upon spotting the tree the Garland is placed on top of a coconut and offered to the Tree. Apart from the garland, the robes of Lord are given to the descendants of Bitarachha Mahapatra family, Dayitapaties, and the Pati Mahapatra who would tie it as a turban on their head while going on the procession. Both the garland and the clothes are significant in the sense that it is indicative of the Lord himself traveling with the team.

 Patta clothes used by the Lord are also given to the Lenka family representative and the nine Maharanas who accompany the group. They are the actual carpenters who build the new chariots every year and who will make the new Jagannath deities as well. Once the Mekap family members touch the forehead of each members of the procession with the Lord’s sandal, the procession officially takes off.

Tree with the sacred Sankha symbol used to make the idol of Lord JagannathTheir first halt would be the palace of the King of Puri where they are required to seek his permission to continue on the holy mission. After staying here for two days and doing meditations and prayers, the team starts out for Kakatpur, a village 50 miles of Puri to the famous temple of Maa Mangala. After reaching the village, they take rest for several days while the oldest. Dayitapati sleeps inside the temple. He must have a dream during this stay in which goddess Mangala tells him the exact location where the trees can be found. The tree for each of the four deities will be in a different place. This may take as long as 15 days to one month.During this entire period the group would eat the prasada of goddess Mangala. But sometimes provision is made for MAHAPRASAD to be brought from Puri.