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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Bhubaneswar: The Puja Panda Nijoga of Puri Srimandir has extended support towards adorning Lord Patitapabana with the much-awaited Nagarjuna Besha on November 27 in view of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic. However, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) is still indecisive on moving ahead in decorating the Lord Jagannath's representative deity with the rare attire.

This year, since the 12th-century shrine is closed for devotees amid the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic situation, the ritual which is being observed after a gap of 25 years is most likely to be marked without the presence of devotees.

In view of the situation, Puja Panda Nijoga has decided to don Lord Patitapabana in this avatar to give the devotees an opportunity to have darshan of the deity even without visiting the temple.

"Lord Patitapabana usually dons ‘Hati Besha’ and ‘Padma Besha. This year the lord will also don the Nagarjuna Besha. We are in favour of the development because this is an unprecedented situation but it is also a huge matter which concerns the religious sentiments of crores of devotees all around the world, said Madhaba Chandra Puja Panda, secretary of Puja Panda Nijoga.

"We will go by the experience of the senior servitors. All the rituals of the Srimandir have been codified and we will take the decisions accordingly," said Madhab Chandra Mohapatra, Srimandir managing committee member.

Meanwhile with the Besha occasion just two weeks away, preparation for the attire rituals by sculptors and artisans is in full swing.

During the Nagarjuna Besha, the deities will be dressed like warriors with golden attire of several weapons including arrows, bows, Hala (plough), Chakra (wheel) and Musala (mace).

"The embellishing of the deities will start at 4 am in the morning after the completion of the Abakasa Niti and finish around 7 am," said Jitendra Kumar Sahu, an administrator of SJTA

Besha silpis, the artisans in charge of designing the special costumes of the Lords have already begun crafting of the attire from various types of raw materials like Santara Patta and thermocol. Special designs like Handia, Katari, Singhada and Kalafi have been made.

"Half of the attire has already been finished. Very soon rest of the costumes will be prepared," said artisan Balaram Khuntia.

According to sources, the ritual is observed when a leap month covers the Ashwin month of Hindu calender. The phenomenon is also known as ‘Joda Ashwin. The deities are dressed as Naga warriors, replete with bows, arrows and decorative helmets as part of the ritual.

(Suryakant Jena)

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