Odishatv Bureau

After staying in isolation for 14 days while recovering from illness, the divine deities of Puri Lord Jagannath  Temple appear with a new youthful look called Nabajoubana. The occasion celebrating this annual ritual at the 12th-century shrine is called ‘Nabajoubana Darshan’.

As per tradition, the Holy Trinity falls sick after taking sahasradhara bath with 108 pitchers of water on Devasnana Purnima.  They are then taken to a sick room called Anasara Ghara where they recuperate for a fortnight under the supervision of the royal physicians. 

During the period of sickness, the deities are administered with ‘Panchakarma’ treatment. After series of rituals, the Gods appear before the devotees with new look. 

The most important ritual that transforms the deities to adorn the youthful avatar is the special ‘Banakalagi’ or ‘Srikumkha Sringara’. In simple terms, it is described as ‘repainting of deities’. 

Fresh coat of colours is applied on the idols of the deities. Traditionally, this secret ritual is performed by Dutta Mohapatra and Khadiparasad Daitapati servitors. Different types of natural colours like Hingula, Haritala, Kasturi, Keshara, glue of Kaitha (wood apple) are anointed on the bodies of the Gods. 

There is a Banaka Pothi, palm leaf manuscripts, which has detail description of how the lords are to be painted. The Dutta Mohapatra servitors carefully preserve this pothi in their houses. 

The servitors paint the eyes, eyebrows, eyelashes, mouths and noses of the deities with much assiduousness. And at last, the eyeballs of the Lords are painted.    

Then the deities appear before their devotees on Nabajoubana Darshan. This ritual is also called Netra Utsav. Lakhs of devotees throng the pilgrim city to have a glimpse of the rejuvenated Gods.