Lord Jagannath Dieties
Lord Jagannath, the symbol of universal love and brotherhood is worshipped in the Temple along with Balabhadra, Subhadra, Sudarshan, Madhaba, Sridevi and Bhudevi on the Ratnabedi or the bejewelled platform.
The Deities, Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Chakra Sudarshan are made of margosa wood. When one lunar month of Ashadha is followed by another lunar month of Aashadha, the deities change their bodies during such a leap month. This is known as Navakalebar or New Body Ceremony. Last four new body ceremonies of the Lords were celebrated in the year 1950, 1969, 1977 and 1996. On such occasions, Puri witnesses the largest crowd in her fold.
The Deities are adorned with cotton and silk fabrics, Gold Ornaments studded with precious stones, flowers of different varieties, Tulsi leaves, sandal paste, camphor. These articles are used in the daily and periodical rituals. Some important Veshas or costumes of the deities are mentioned below.
1. Abakasha [Tadapa uttari] Vesha
This Vesha is done everyday after Mangal Aarati for the Abakash rituals. The clothes which are worn by the deities for this purpose are known as “Tadapa” and “Uttariya”.
2. Sadha Vesha
This Vesha are the normal costumes of deities which they wear five times in a day, especially after each food offering. This Vesha comprises silken clothes and flower garlands.
3. Bada Sringar Vesha
This the last Vesha of the deities done everyday before the night “Pahuda”. Bada Sringar Vesha is mostly of flowers of different colours and species. The deities wear silk clothes called ‘Khandua’.
4. Chandan Vesha
This vesha is done for 42 days starting from Akshayya Tritiya day.
5. Ganapati or Hathi vesha
On the full moon day in the month of Jyestha, after the bathing ceremony is over, the deities are dressed like elephants. Lord Jagannath and Lord Balabhadra appear like Ganesh[the Elephant God].
6. Suna(gold) vesha
On the 11th day in the bright fortnight of Ashada, Suna Vesha takes place, when the deities are in their respective chariots near the Lion’s gate of Sree Jagannath temple. The deities are decorated with many gold ornaments. This vesha is also known as ‘Bada Tadhau’ vesha and Raja Vesha is also done on Dashahara, Kartik Purnima,Pousha purnima and Dola purnima.
7. Banabhoji Vesha
It is done on the 10th day of the dark fortnight of Bhadraba. The deities are dressed as if going for a picnic, like cowherd boys.
8. Kaliyadalana Vesha
On the 11th day of the dark fortnight of Bhadraba, Lord JAGANNATH is dressed like Lord Krishna killing the Kaliya Serpent.
9. Pralambasura Badha Vesha
It is done on the 12th day of the dark fortnight of Bhadraba[September], Lord Balabhadra’s killing of the demon Pralambasura is depicted in this Vesha.
10. Krishna Balarama Vesha
This Vesha is done on the 13th day of the dark fortnight of Bhadraba. Lord Jagannath and Balabhadra are dressed like Lord Krishna and Balaram.
11. Bali Baman Vesha
On the 12th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadraba, Lord Jagannath is dressed like “Bamana”[dwarf]. Bamana is the fifth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
12. Radha-Damodara Vesha
From the 11th day of the bright fortnight of Ashwina to the 10th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika, this vesha takes place.
13. Thiakia[Laxmi-Narayan] Vesha
It is done on the 11th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika.
14. Bankachula Vesha
It is done on the 12th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika.
15. Adakia[Tribikrama] Vesha
This is done on the 13th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika.
16. Dalikia Vesha
On the 14th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika, this is also known as Laxmi-Nrisimha Vesha.
17. Nagarjuna Vesha
This vesha is occasionally done in the month of Kartika, when there are six days of “Panchaka”. The lords are dressed like warriors. In the recent past, this besha has been done on 16.11.1994. The previous four dates were 26.11.1993, 3.11.1968, 16.11.1967 and 26.11.1966.
18. Ghodalagi Vesha During the period from the 6th day of the bright fortnight of Margasira to the 5th day of the bright fortnight of Magha[Basanta Panchami], the deities wear winter clothes.
19. Jamalagi Vesha
From Basanta Panchami to Dola Purnima, the deities wear modified Ghoda(Winter dress).
20. Padma Vesha
This vesha is done on any saturday or Wednesday between the new moon day of Magha and Basanta Panchami. “Padma” means lotus. The dress materials made of lotus, “Sola” lace and paper,gum etc.
21. Gaja Uddharana Vesha
This Vesha is done on the full moon day of Magha. This Vesha depicts a story in the puranas as to how Lord Vishnu saved an elephant from the attack of an Alligator.
Besides these, there are other veshas like Shradha and Chacheri veshas are done in the month of Margasira and Falguna respectively. The sevaks of temple who dress the deities with clothing and flowers are known as Puspalaks or Singharis.