Offering Sweets to Mahalaxmi, Deities
enter Sanctum Sanctorum


Jul 24, 2010 — JAGANNATHA PURI, ORISSA The heavens opened as Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra took the return route into the Jagannath Temple on Saturday night. Braving the downpour, thousands of pilgrims turned up to catch a glimpse of the Deities, who entered the shrine after ending 11 days of vacation at their aunt's place at Gundicha Temple.

Saturday's grand occasion was known as Niladri Bije. Even though the deities had come out of Gundicha temple on Bahuda Yatra (return car festival) on July 21st, They remained present on Their respective cars in front of the Jagannath Temple till Saturday.

Daitapati priests (bodyguards of Lord Jagannath) escorted the Deities from Their chariots into the temple in ceremonial pahandi procession. The temple administration scripted a success story by completing the rituals of the Deities in scheduled time on Rath Yatra and Bahuda, however failed to stick to punctuality on Niladri Bije.

The rituals were performed pretty late, and subsequently the Deities were escorted to the sanctum sanctorum in the late night.

"Rain played spoilsport in the smooth conduct of the rituals of the Deities," said a Jagannath Temple official. "Niladri Bije marked the end of the annual sojourn of the deities. The Lord will again come out of the temple during next year's Rath Yatra," said Jogendra Dasmohapatra, a daitapati sevayat.

The day also held significance for the servitors, as it was the last day to render their service to the Lord this year. "The Lord comes out of temple once a year to give darshan to lakhs of devotees. The darshan of the Lord itself means devotion," Ramkrushna das Mohapatra, another Daitapati sevayat said.

Meanwhile, the occasion of Niladri Bije also saw devotees offering Rasogolla (a famous Oriya sweet) to the Deities aboard Their chariots. The practice is age-old and traditional.

Lord Jagannath offered Rasogolla to Goddess Mahalaxmi to pacify her before entering the sanctum sanctorum on Niladri Bije, for the Goddess was aggrieved as the sibling Deities went on nine-day sojourn to Gundicha Temple without her accompanying Them. So she resisted when the Lord was entering the shrine on Niladri Bije. Then Lord Jagannath tried to please Goddess Mahalaxmi by offering her Rasogolla.

"Just as human beings offer sweets to pacify their wives, the Lord also followed the same tactic," the sevayat said. "So following the tradition, we also offered Rasogolla to Lord. We have tremendous faith on the tradition," a devotee said.

The confrontation between Lord Jagannath and Goddess Mahalaxmi near the shrine entrance was enacted by some servitors of the temple.


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