Veshas of Lord Jagannatha

BY: SUN STAFF - 16.11 2021

Badasinhar Vesha

The primary Veshas (costumes) of Lord Jagannatha in Puri - Part One.

In Lord Jagannatha's honor, we offer this two-part series on the Lord's costumes or vesas, which symbolize various cultural and religious practices and events that are synthesized in the 12th century Jagannatha shrine.

Every day from early morning to night, the Deities on the Ratnavedi wear different dresses made of cotton and silk fabrics, gold ornaments studded with precious stones, flowers of different varieties, tulsi leaves, and other opulent paraphernalia. Sandal paste, camphor and sometimes musks are used in the daily and periodic rituals. The sevaks of the temple who dress the Deities with clothing and flowers each day are known as Puspalaks or Singharis.

In different parts of the country the counting system of months in a year follows the English calendar, beginning with the month of January through December, whereas in the Bengali calendar the months begin after the first day of the solar month. In Orissa, the calendar months begin after the full moon day. In Bengal and Orissa the calendar months are as follows:

[1] BAISAKH (April - May)
[2] JESTH (May - June)
[3] ASHADHA (June - July)
[4] SRAVAN (July - August)
[5] BHADRAV (August - September)
[6] ASHWINA (September - October)
[7] KARTIKA (October - November)
[8] MARGASIRA (November - December)
[9] PAUSA (December - January)
[10] MAGHA (January - February)
[11] FALGUNA (February - March)
[12] CHAITRA (March - April)

Following are a number of the most important Veshas of the Deities:

(pictured above)

This adornment is done every day before the night pahuda. At the time of going to sleep, the Vesha of the Deities is known as Badasinhar Vesha. Every day and night, all the demigods and goddess come down from the heavenly planets to witness this floral sentiment of love for the Supreme Lord Jagannatha.

On the following morning, a lamp offering is done on this costume. Bada Srungar Vesha is mostly comprised of flowers of different colours and species. The Deities wear silk clothes called khandua. An extract from the famous Sanskrit poem, Gita-Govinda of poet Jayadev is woven into the texture of this khandua. In this costume, the Deities are extremely attractive to look at.


Abakash Vesha is done early every morning after Mangal Arati of the Deities, for the Abakash rituals (system of bath). At this time the Deities wear Tadapa (napkins), which have a white and orange colour border cloth measuring 16' x 4', along with Uttariya (Salwar). Then the Deities take teeth brushing, tongue cleaning and bathing in front of a mirror by Panchamrita (milk, curd, ghee, sugar and honey). This system is known as Abakash or Abhisekh Vesha (Bath Decoration).

Changing Of Colour Of Dresses

The changing colour of dress is a reminder for worshippers of the Deity that Lord Jagannath is the Master of all the planets. From Sunday to Saturday, He changes seven colours of dresses, representing His dominion as Master of all planets:

SUNDAY - Red dress
MONDAY - White with black-spotted dress
TUESDAY - Mixture of five colours dress
WEDNESDAY - Green colour dress
THURSDAY - Yellow colour dress
FRIDAY - White colour dress
SATURDAY - Black colour dress


Sadha Vesha is the normal costume of the Deities, which they wear five times in a day, especially after each food offering. This Vesha is done with silken clothes and flower garlands.

CHANDAN VESHA (Sacred Basil decoration)

Chandan Vesha is done for 42 days, every third bright day of the month Baisakh (April-May) starting from Akhyatritiya day. Faring, sandal paste oil on the body of Deity and decoration of flowers (Chula, Alaka, Topar) is known as Chandan Vesha. The first 21 days from Akhyatritiya are known as 'outer Chandan yatra', and the second 21 days are known as 'inner chandan yatra'. In the first 21 days beginning from Akhyatritiya, the Lord Madan-mohan, representative of Lord Jagannath, along with Sree Devi (Laxmi) and Bhudevi (Saraswati) ascending on Biman, Ram and Kirhsna in a palki along with local Sivas (Jameswar, Loknath, Kapal-mochan, Markandeswar and Nilkanth) go in procession to the Narendra Tank for a bath and boat journey pastime.

RAGHUNATH VESHA (Purusottam Sri Ramchandra)

Raghunath Vesha is a royal Vesha. On the 9th bright day of Baisakha (April-May), which is known as Sree Ram Navami, the Deities are decorated with Lord Jagannath as Purusottam Lord Ramachandra, Lord Balabhadra as Lord Laxman, and Goddess Mahalaxmi as Goddess Sita. To the left side of Lord Ram Chandra his two brothers, Bharat and Satrughan, stand holding the umbrella and Chamar (tail of a yak) in their hands. On the right side of Lord Ram stands Lord Balabhadra (Laxman), Lord Brahma and the saint Basistha. On the lap of Lord Jagannath (Purusottam Ram) sits goddess Laxmi, while Hanuman stands by with folded hands, along with his army like Angada with Chamar. Jambaban, Bibhisan, Mala, Mila, Gabaya, Gabakhaya with their hands folded are also there. All these murtis are made of thermocol on the Ratnavedi. Goddess Subhadra sits separately, decorated pompously with golden ornaments. Such pompously decorated style is known as Raghunath Vesha (Ram Abhisekh). In this Vesha gold, silver, ruby, precious stones, etc. are used, so it is called the ornamented sentiment of the Lord. Since 1905 such Vesha has not been conducted in Sri Mandir.

RUKMINI HARAN VESHA (Rukmani's marriage)

The Rukmani marriage ceremony is celebrated every year on the 11th bright day of the month of Jeistha (May-June). On that day, Sree Krishna (Madan-mohan), representative of Lord Jagannath, married with Rukmani (Goddess Laxmi). On this day Lord Jagannath dresses in Baula Pata to look like a bridegroom. This Vesha is known as Rukmani Haran Vesha.

SUNA VESHA (Gold Ornament Decoration)

On the 11th day in the bright fortnight of Ashadha (June-July) this adornment takes place, when the Deities are in their respective chariots near the Lion's Gate. The Deities are decorated with gold ornaments. Lord Jagannath and Balabhadra appear with hands and feet made of gold. Lord Jagannath holds a gold chakra in his right hand and a silver conch in the left hand. Lord Balabhadra holds a gold plough in the left hand and a gold mace in the right hand. This adornment is also done on festivals like Dashahara, Kartika Purnima and Pausa-purnima. Out of all Veshas, the golden ornaments decoration is most attractive.

On 10th bright day of the month of Aswmin (October) which is known as BIJOYADASMI, Lord Jagannath appears before devotees like a sovereign emperor by dressing all gold and Jewels.

On the 12th bright day of the month of Asadha (July), when the Deities return to Srimandir after completing the car festival, they ARE decorated with all gold ornaments.

On the full moon day of the month Cartika (November), the Deities are decorated with gold ornaments inside the temple.

On the full moon day of Phalguna (March), the Deities are also decorated with gold ornaments known Sunavesa.

In Suna Vesha the golden ornaments are used as follows:

1. Sri Hasta - Golden Hands

2. Sri Payar - Golden feet

3. Sri Mukuta - Golden big crown

4. Sri Mayur Chandrika - A golden peacock feather used by Lord Jagannath as Sri Krishna's headpiece

5. Sri Chulapati - A golden ornament worn traditionally on the forehead to increase the beauty of the face

6. Sri Kundal - Golden earring of hanging round ball type

7. Sri Rahurekha - A half-square shaped golden aura around the face of the Deities

8. Sri Mala - Necklaces with several designs made of gold

The shapes of the ornaments are as follows:

PADAM MALA - Lotus shaped
SEVATI MALA - Shaped like a small Sunflower
AGASTI MALA - Moon Shaped flower design
KADAMBA MALA - Kadamba flower design (Round ball shape)
KANTE MALA - Big gold beads design
MAYUR MALA - Shaped like peacock feathers
CHAMPA MALA - Shaped liked yellow Champa flower

9. Sri Chita - An ornament representing the third eye of the Lord. On a golden plate there are eight precious gems and in the center is found a pure jewel. On the middle point at Sri Chita of Lord Jagannath there is a precious diamond, which is represent the Swatik (duality of nature marked by ignorance) and on the forehead of Ma Subhadra, a panna (emerald) represents the Raja quality (the second of the three natural qualities of jivatmas). When all three Deities come out from Srimandir on the occasion of Deb Snana Purnima, these original jewels were kept in Srimandir. After returning to the temple the original chitas (jewels) are again placed on forehead of the Deities on the day called Chita Lagi Amabasya day.

10. Sri Chakra - Golden Wheel

11. Sri Gada - Golden bludgeon

12. Sri Padma - Golden lotus

13. Sri Sank - A silver conch


On the full moon day in the month of Jyestha (May-June), Deb Snana Purnima falls. This is one of the famous festivals of Lord Jagannath out of the thirteen major festivals at Srimandir. On this day the Deities come down from the ratnavedi to snan-mandap to give darshan to the devotees. The Deities used to take practical bath on this day. After the bathing ceremony is over, the Deities are decorated in the shape of elephants. Black materials are supplied by Gopal Tirtha Matha and Ragabdas Matha of Puri, with a request of devotee Sri Ganapati Bhatta. This Vesha is well known as Hati Vesha (Elephant dressing).

NAVAYOBAN VESHA (Decoration Of Adolescence)

After taking bath, the Deities were considered ill and were treated for 15 days in the Anawasar (Leisure) Room. On the New moon day of Ashadh (June-July), the Lord comes out in His fresh young Form to give darshan to his beloved devotees. This Vesha is known as Nabayaban Vesha.


On the new moon day of the month Sravan (July-Aug), the Deities wear their respective forehead ornaments (Chita). This is known as Chitalagi Amabasya Vesha.


On the 10th day of dark Bhadraba (Aug-Sept), the Banabhoji Vesha is continuing in Srimandir. The Deities are dressed as if going to attend a picnic, like cowherd boys. In Krishna lila, Lord Krishna and his elder brother Balaram and a group of cows went out into the forest for a picnic. Reminding of this pastime, Banabhoji Vesha is still continuing in Srimandir. This Vesha is very beautiful.


On the 11th day of dark Bhadraba (Aug-Sept) the Kaliya Dalana Vesha is celebrated in Srimandir. In Krishna lila it is narrated that in Dwarpa yuga, Lord Sri Krishna defeated the notorious cobra named Kaliya, who was living in the waters of the Yamuna river, and saved the villagers of Gopa. Lord Jagannatha is dressed like Lord Krishna in this pastimes, which is known as Kaliya Dalan Vesha.


The 12th day of dark of Bhadraba (Aug-Sept) is celebrated as the Pralambasura Baddha Vesha, and celebrates the killing of a demon named Palambasura by Balabhadra. From the 16th century AD this Vesha has continued at Srimandir, as it is mentioned in Madala Pariji (history of Raja Bhoj). Lord Balabhadra wears the decoration known as the Palambasura Baddha Vesha.


On the 13th day of dark Bhadraba (Aug-Sept), Lord Jagannath and Lord Balabhadra are decorated as Sri Krishna and Balaram, respectively. This is not an ancient Vesha, but has been going on for just the last 55 years or so. In this Vesha, Lord Jagannath and Lord Balabhadra are decorated with two extra hands and Goddess Subhadra is decorated with extra four hands (chatur-bhuja). Two hands are for offering protection and the other two hands are for holding rope and Ankush. This Vesha is also known as Ram-Balaram Vesha.


On the 12th bright day of the month of Bhadraba (Aug-Sept), Lord Vishnu (Jagannath) acts as the embodied Form of the dwarf brahmin Vamanadev.


From the 11th day of the month of Ashwena (Sept-Oct) until the 10th bright day of the month of Kartik (Oct-Nov) is known as Radha-Damodar month. In these days Lord Jagannath is decorated as Damodar (Sri Krishna). Permission is obtained from Sridevi (Laxmi). The Lord here is worshiping along with Radha. This Vesha is known as Rai-Damodar Vesha, or Radha-Damodar Vesha.

Tomorrow we will present another 16 of the Lord's primary Veshas.