The Jagannath Temple at Puri, Odisha is all set to celebrate the rare ‘Nagarjuna Besha’ ceremony of the sibling deities on November 27 after a gap of 25 years. Owing to COVID-19 devotees will not be allowed to witness the ritual, which was last held in 1994. The ‘Besha Anukula’ ceremony to initiate the preparations for ‘Nagarjuna Besha’ was held in Puri Srimandir on Monday.
Servitor artisan Balaram Khuntia, who has been tasked with designing the ornaments and dresses for Lord Jagannath and his siblings, said, “This is the first time I am designing the attire for Nagarjuna Besha of the Lords. I was very young the last time the Besha was observed in 1994 and therefore could not design the attire.” His family is providing this service from a long period. They now have the rights of angyamala (divine nod) to begin the preparation for this rare Besha of the Lords. Nagarjuna Besha is celebrated to commemorate the killing of Sahashrarjuna by Parsuram, the warrior incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Therefore, the deities are dressed as Naga warriors, replete with golden weapons including arrows, bows, Hala (plough), helmet, Chakra (wheel) and Musala (mace) on this occasion.
This festival is observed during the Hindu month of Kartik 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 sixth day of Panchuka.