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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Puri: Lord Jagannatha and his sibling deities Balabhadra and Subhadra will be adorned with Radha Damodara Besa (attire) in the Srimandir here on Tuesday marking the beginning of special rituals for the holy month of Kartika.

However the devotees will be deprived to have a darshan of the Lord in this unique attire as Covid-19 guidelines are in place.

During this period a large number of devotees especially widows (Habishialis) used to visit Puri to serve Lord and carry out their Kartika Brata. But this year they are saddened as they will not be able to observe the Brata in the Srimandir due to the pandemic protocol.

It is worth mentioning that Kartika is the holiest of all the months in the Hindu lunar calendar, which includes many religious events.

According to Hindus, someone who undertakes Kartika Brata gets happiness in life because this is the most awaited months for supreme Gods Lord Bishnu and Lord Shiva.

Meanwhile, the ‘Besha Anukula’ ceremony that marks the beginning of the preparations for the rare ‘Nagarjuna Besha’ of Lord Jagannath, Blabhadra and Subhadra was held on Monday.

Beshasilpis, the artisans in-charge of designing the special costumes of the Lords began the crafting of the attire after the initiation ceremony amidst spiritual ambience. Various types of raw materials like Santara Patta, thermocol and cane have been procured for the designing exercise.

Servitor artisan Balaram Khuntia who has been assigned to design the ornaments and dresses for the deities offered ‘ahutis’ in the sacred fire along with his wife before starting the designing exercise. The process will continue for a month-long time.

The Nagarjuna Besha of the Lords was last observed in 1993 and 1994. This Besha is observed during Kartika month occasionally when the Panchuka (last five days of Kartik month) is observed as six days. This year, due to an extra month after Ashwin (Adhik Maas), the special besha of the Holy Trinity will be held on November 27, the extra day (sixth day) of Panchuka.

The deities will be dressed as Naga warriors, replete with golden weapons including arrows, bows, Hala (plough), helmet, Chakra (wheel) and Musala (mace).

Mythologists are of the view that the rare besha is celebrated to commemorate the killing of Sahashrarjuna by Parsuram, the warrior incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Though lakhs of devotees visit the Lord Jagannath Temple, this year as the temple is closed for devotees amid the prevailing Covid-19 situation, the ritual would be held without the participation of the devotees.

(Edited by Rashmi Ranjan Mohanty)

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