Veshas of Lord Jagannatha, Part 2

BY: SUN STAFF - 18.11 201

Chacheri Vesha

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

There are two Veshas which take place outside the Jagannatha Puri Temple, while the remaining 18 Veshas take place inside the temple on Ratna Bedi, where the Deities take their seats. All these Veshas of the Deities are linked with different events of Lord Jagannath's incarnations, and particularly His pastimes as the Supreme Lord Krishna. The Lord's Veshas draw the attention of countless devotees and visitors every year, and look so beautiful that one cannot help but be enamored by the lotus eyes of Lord.

(pictured above)

From the 10th bright day of the month of Phalgun (Feb-Mar) to 14th Phalgun (5 days), on Ratnavedi the Deities are decorated with Chacheri Vesha. In this Vesha, the Deities are wearing red clothes and red flowers. The devotees get boundless joy from seeing this Vesha.

HARIHARA VESHA (Vishnu and Shiva decoration)

After the new moon day until the full moon day in the month of Kartika (Oct-Nov), on Monday Lord Balabhadra is decorated with half black and half white, like Hari-Hara.


On the 11th bright day of the month of Kartik (Oct-Nov), after abhishek the Deities are decorated with Laxmi-Narayan Vesha and gold ornaments. On Their heads are placed golden crowns with charming Thiakias. In this Vesha, Lord Jagannath holds a conch shell of silver and the Sudarshan Chakra (the wheel) made of gold. Lord Balabhadra holds the plough and shovel. This Vesha is very dear to the Bishista-daityabad caste of devotees. It is also believed that Ramanujacarya was very pleased with this Laxmi-Narayan Vesha. In his day, he used to give a grand feast to Sri caste devotees to celebrate the Lord's Laxmi-Narayana Vesah.


On the 12th bright day of the month of Kartik (Oct-Nov) Ekadasi, the Deities are decorated with gold ornaments. When Akrur came to Gopa from Mathura to take Sri Krishna by the order of King Ansha, at that time he saw the Lord was decorated with Banka-Chuda Vesha. Since ancient times this Banka-chuda Vesha is continuing as the memory of this occasion. In this Vesha, Lord Jagannath and Lord Balabhadra are decorated with chandanika-chula on the left side, braid on top, and a golden kia setting especially on the forehead of Lord Jagannath. A small crown is also set. In this decoration the Lord looks like a dwarf. This Vesha is very dear to Atibari caste devotees.


On the 13th bright day of the month of Kartika (Oct-Nov), this Vesha was started by the Alibadi caste. Lord Jagannath is Master of the three spheres of the universe. In this Vesha, the Lord is given heroic dress with a gold sword, conch shell, wheel and club, and a gold crown with kia on His head.



On the 14th bright day of the month Kartik (Oct-Nov), Lord Jagannath is decorated with gold ornaments and dressed as Sri Nrsimhadeva, the half-man, half-lion incarnation. This Vesha celebrates the Satya yuga incarnation with vanda chula and golden kia.


This Vesha is occasionally done in the month of Kartika (Oct-Nov), when there are six days of Panchaka. Their Lordships are dressed like warriors. In the recent past, this Vesha has been done in 1966, 1967, 1968, 1993, and 1994.


In Padam Purana Uttara-khand it is narrated that in the month of Kartika (Oct-Nov), from the 11th bright day to full moon day, the decoration of the Deities is known as Raj Rajeswar Vesha.


On the 14th dark day, new moon day, and 1st bright days of the month Margasir (Nov-Dec), Lord Jagannath offers a death ceremony and lamps in respect of his fathers Nanda (foster father), Basudeva (father in "Dwapar yuga), and Dasarath (father in Treta yuga). In these days Lord Jagannath wears clothing that is plain white with a small yellow border. It is also known as Dev-Deepavali. The full moon day of the month Margasira is known as Pandu Purnima. At this Sradha time Lord Jagannath wears white silk cloth of 8 yards long, 1½ yards wide, bordered with printed pictures in red colour. Lord Balabhadra wears white silk cloth that is 7 yards long, 2 yards wide with a black colour border, and Goddess Subhadra wears white silk cloth of 6 yards long, 2 yards wide with yellow colour border.


From the 6th bright day of the month Margasira (Nov-Dec) to 5th bright day of the month Magha (Jan-Feb), i.e. Odarsasthi to Basant Panchami for a total of 36 days, Ghodalagi Vesha takes place. As the winter season proceeds, the Deities are covered in velvet clothing. This Vesha is known as standing Ghoda Lagi Vesha.


From the 5th bright day of Magha (Feb) to the 10th bright day of Phalgun (March), i.e. Basanta Panchami to Dola Purnima, when winter goes down the Deities wear modified Ghoda, i.e. Jama (shirt). It is known as Jama Lagi Vesha. All these Jamas (shirts) are made of coloured silk colour cloth. In this time the Deities wear 30 pieces of gold ornaments and 4 pieces of Patas, measuring 2 yards by 11/2 yards.



On the moon day of the month Pausa (Dec-Jan), the Deities are said to have been installed in Srimandir. To mark the occasion, after Abhisekh the Deities are decorated in royal dressing, wearing gold ornaments and garlands with sweet fragrant flowers, as Lord Jagannath looks like an emperor. During the time of Bhoga Puja on Ratnavedi, Bhitarcha Mahapatra stands beside the Lord holding the cloth umbrella, like Laxman and Bhandora Mekapa are holding the root of the umbrella as Hanuman and three Palia Puja Pandas complete Bhoga Puja with sixteen upachar. This decoration known as Pausa Abhisekh.

PADMA VESHA (Lotus Flower Decoration)

On the 11th bright day of the the month Magha (Jan-Feb), this Padma Vesha has been continuing in Srimandir for the last three hundred years. The lotus is the symbol of intelligence, meditation, efforts for success, deviation and indifference to universal matters. Lord Jagannath Himself is the brightness of all hearts' lotus, so he is called Padma Lochana (Lotus Eye God).

Nowadays these Vesha materials are supplied by the Badachata Matha. The entire decoration of Padma Vesha is done by skilled artists. The lotus flower, bud of lotus prepared with sola sraft, silver, golden threads, plant thread, cotton cloth, gum of wood apple and colours are used. In particular, they makes three masks with petals of cotton and hair affixed to the masks. In both hands They hold Kadamba flowers. This Padma Vesha is done at the Bada Singhar (bedtime) Vesha of the Deities. This is the only day when the Deities go to sleep with Padma Vesha. It is very attractive, and the loveliest Vesha of the Deities. This also marks the beginning of spring, when Lotus flowers are abundant.


On the full moon day of Magha (Jan-Feb), the Gaja Uddharan Vesha is done. This Vesha depicts a story in the Puranas as to how lord Vishnu saved Gajendra, the devotee elephant, from the attack of an alligator in Varuna Lake. This Vesha is has been celebrated in Srimandir for as long as history has been recorded there. Some devotees believe that this Vesha has been held since the time of King Ramchandra Dev, in 1575. All the Vesha material is made of Sola craft. Lord Jagannath is sitting on Garuda. The elephant and crocodile are in fighting positions in the water, under Ratnavedi. This Vesha is very attractive to the devotees.



Before one day of the topic of Capricorn (Makara), this Nabank Vesha is done alone with a rice and flowers festival. At evening time the Deities wear huge of Tulasi garlands and tulasi chula on the head, with the help of Palia Singharis and Palia Khuntia. In this Vesha, Lord Jagannath has dressed as Nayak, a lover or beloved. The dresses are long cloth with red colored borders, folded over the heads of the Deities in such an attractive way that the red border frames their face. This vesha was started by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu at the time of his staying at Puri. Nabank means nine types or stages of devotion, hearing of God and repeating the name of God.



The full moon day of Phalgun (Feb-Mar) is known as Dol Purnima. On this day, Lord Jagannath appears like a Raja (sovereign emperor) by wearing different gold ornaments. The Deities wear silk patas, with gold saree pada (feet), Sri Hasta (gold hands) holding silver conch shell and golden wheel. Lord Balabhadra holds a golden plough and golden shovel in this Vesha. The daily decoration of the Deities in Srimandir is mainly done by the worshippers known as Palia Singharis, Palia Makeup, and Palia Khuntia.