Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Pana Sankranti or Maha Bishuba Sankranti marks the beginning of the Odia calendar. The day is also observed as the birthday of Lord Hanuman at Srimandir in Puri. Special rituals are performed in the temple of Lord Jagannath and his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra on this special occasion.

Following the completion of the morning rituals (Sakala Dhupa), the Mahavir Hanuman in Singhdwar gets ‘Angymala’ from Lord Jagannath through the Puja Panda servitor. Then Lord Hanuman’s statue is carried to another statue of the Lord in the eastern gate. Subsequently, Lord Hanuman will be worshipped there. Then Lord Hanuman’s statue will be carried to Daria Mahavira and Jagannath Ballabha Matha in procession. A special ‘Pana’ made of cheese, jaggery, banana, milk, cardamom, pepper, and Chatua is offered as ‘bhog’.

There are Asta (eight) Hanumans (or Mahaviras) who are engaged in protecting Puri Dham. They are Siddha Mahavira, Daria Mahavira or Bedi Mahavira, Kanapata Mahavira, Vargi Mahavira, Masani Mahavira, Pancha Mukhi Mahavira, Phate Mahavira. For the protection of Srimandir, Lord Hanuman guards the four directions of the temple.

On this auspicious occasion, special rituals are performed at Sri Jagannath Temple (Srimandir) in Puri with recitation of the new Odia almanac (Panji) before the Holy Trinity. As per experts, on this day, the Sun enters the sidereal Aries (Mesha rashi) and begins its year-long trip across all the 12 zodiac signs.

On this Odia New Year’s Day, the new Odia almanac or ‘Panji’ comes into effect. Date of various festivals and auspicious timings for marriage and sacred thread ceremonies are found in the ‘Panji’.

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