Pradeep Pattanayak

Today is the fifth day of Lord Jagannath and His siblings’ ‘Anasara’ period. On this day, a kind of medicinal oil known as ‘Phuluri Tela’ will be applied to the bodies of the lords. This is said to be part of the secret ritual of 1000 years. This special oil, which is one of the important medicines used to heal the Gods, is prepared and supplied by the Bada Odia mutt. 

While the base oil of this ‘Phuluri Tela’ is hand-pressed sesame oil,  24 ingredients including some flowers such as Ketaki, Malli, Boula and Champa and some barks and roots, sandalwood powder, camphor, rice grains are mixed to prepare the special oil. 

The interesting fact is that though the oil is prepared on the Hera Panchami day-the fifth day of the Rath Yatra; it is used on the fifth day of the deities’ quarantine period the following year.  

After mixing all the ingredients, the mixture is kept in an earthen pot. After sealing it with clay, the pot is buried under the soil and left to brew for nearly a year.

A day before the Snana Purnima, Mahanta Maharaj of Bada Odia mutt removes the earthen pot from the soil and filters it in a very careful manner. Thereafter, on the fifth day of the 'Anasara', the oil is sent to the temple for messaging on the bodies of the deities as they suffer from body aches due to fever. The Daitapatis apply this oil to the bodies of the sick deities.  

Every year, the mutt supplies around four seras of this oil to the temple. 

In his time, Atibadi Jagannath Das, who happened to be one of the inmates of Bada Odia mutt, used to supply Phuluri Tela to the temple. It is said that Gajapati Purusottam Deb gave him the right to supply the oil to the temple. 

It is worth mentioning here that Atibadi Jagannath Das was the author of Odia Bhagabata. 

It is believed that after the completion of this seva, the deities start to recuperate and are offered solid food. Prior to this, they are offered only liquid food.