||| Read in Oriya ||| Nabakalebara AAA owiaA vAp\Aer pWibA AAA

Navakalebar/Nabakalebar literary means New Body Ceremony of the deities in Shree Mandir, Puri, Odisha. When one lunar month of Ashadha is followed by another lunar month of Aashadha, the deities change their bodies during the leap month.

The Daitas plays an important role during Nabakalebar, the ritual in connection with changing of wooden bodies of the deities. It is said that they are the decedents of the sabara chieftain Biswabasu, who was worshiping Jagannath before the Lord came to this temple and hence the Daitas are considered as close relatives of Jagannath.

The bodies of the Deities are made of Neem (Margo) wood. The first step taken in this connection is the search of sacred Daru (wood logs) to create the new Deities. This is known as Banayaga Parba of the Navakalevara ceremony. The procedure relating to searching of Darus begins from Chaitra Sukla Dasami i.e. the 10th day of the bright fortnight of the month of Chaitra, so this ritual starts 65 days before the Snana Purnima festival (bathing festival) of the deities. Nobody knows from where to find the sacred wood to create the new idols, so as per the tradition a group formed to search the sacred wood. The search team consists of:

  • 1 member of the Pati Mahapatra family
  • 1 Lenka
  • 9 Maharanas
  • 20 Dayitapatis
  • 3 Deulakaranas
  • 16 Brahmanas
  • 30 Police officers
  • 2 Inspectors of Police

    The holy mission for searching of the woods begins after getting Aagyanmalas (permission) from the four deities. After receiving the permission from the deities, the search party come out of the Temple and continues to the palace of the King of Puri. The King welcomes the party in a ritualistic manner and provides his Aagyanmala (permission) to the group to search of the Darus. The group next proceeds to Jagannath Ballav Math and stay there for one or two days to make their final preparations. After this in an early morning the members start their journey for Kakatpur, a village 50 kilo meters from Puri to the famous temple of Goddess Mangala. In Kakatapur, the team stays in the Deuli Math belonging to Ramanujiya Vaishnavas and maintained by Puri Emar Math. After reaching the Kakatpur village, they are taking bath in river Prachi and go to Mangala temple to pray Goddess Mangala (the presiding deity of Kakatapur) to help them to find the sacred wood. The priests sleep in front of the Goddess with their face down (locally known as Adhia posture) and then Goddess Mangala come in their dream and tells the exact locations of the sacred Neem (Margo) trees for all the deities. This custom has been performed from years during Nabakalebar festival without any deviation. Then the search team goes to the dreamt locations on foot to locate the Neem trees for four deities.

    The selection of the Darus is taken up in the following order:

  • Sri Sudarshan
  • Lord Balabhadra
  • Goddess Subhadra
  • Lord Jagannath

    After identification of the Neem Trees, the search team builds temporary huts near the trees and stay there to perform all pre-defined procedures before cutting of the tress. The trees may be collected from the land belong to any person regardless of caste and religion. The search team matches all the prerequisites which are required for the trees to qualify as the sacred tree for the deities.

    Following are the prerequisites which are matched:

  • They must have a wheel (chakra) sign on them
  • Poisonous snakes like Cobra must be hiding under them or in nearby ant hill
  • A tamarind tree must be in the vicinity
  • A funeral yard in the vicinity of each tree
  • Each tree must have 4 to 7 branches over the main trunk
  • From ground level upto 10/12 feet it should be straight and solid
  • No nest of birds on tree tops

    Last six new body ceremonies of the Lords were celebrated in the year :
    1912, 16th JulyPrataprudrapurNialiPolar MahalFategarh
    1931, 17th JulyGabapadaSatwikpurNialiKakatpur
    1950, 16th JulyKhadiharaNuapatnaDurgeswarJalarpur
    1969, 16th JulyChampajharBhakar StreetKanhupurBalara Village
    1977, 18th JulyRaychakradharpurBhogeswarBaraboiNiali
    1996, 17th JulyDadhimachhagadiaRamakrishnapurMalada VillageBisoidih


    Specific Features of Renewal Holy Trees For Nabakalebar
    Nabakalebar, the periodical renewal of the wooden images of Lord, Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan. After the year 1996, next Nabakalebar festival is going to happen in 2015. The Puri Rath Yatra will be named as Nabakalebar Rath Yatra in 18th July 2015 is going to be special for everyone throughout the world. Here are the brief description about the procedure of Nabakalebar festival, which is going to happen in 2015.

    Lord Jagannath Daru features
  • The holy tree should have 4 main branches.
  • The bark of the Margo tree must dark in color.
  • There should be the sign of Sankha and Chakra.
  • There should be a cremation ground near the tree.
  • There should be an out hill near the tree and a snake hole at the roots of the tree.
  • Any birds' nest should not be there on trees.
  • The tree should be near the river or a pond or a crossing of the three ways or else to be surrounded by 3 mountains.
  • The tree should not stand alone but be surrounded preferably with the trees of Varuna, Sahada, and Belva.
  • There should be a temple dedicated to Shiva in the neighborhood.
  • There should be a hermitage or monastery nearby.
  • The holy tree should be free from Parasite plants and Creepers
  • Daru (log/wood/tree) of Lord Jagannath has been located at "Kharipadia" village under Raghunathpur block in Jagatsinghpur district

    Lord Balabhadra Daru Features
  • The holy tree should have Seven Branches.
  • The skin of the tree must be light brown or white color.
  • It should have a sign of plough and pestle etc.
  • Nearby tree there should be a hermitage and also a graveyard.
  • Daru (log/wood/tree) of Lord Balabhadra has been located at "Kanakpur" in Tirtol block of Jagatsinghpur district

    Goddess Subhadra Daru Features
  • Seven Branches should be present on the holy tree.
  • The skin of the tree should be light brown or white color.
  • It should have a sign of plough and pestle etc.
  • Nearby tree there should be a hermitage and a graveyard.
  • Daru (log/wood/tree) of Devi Subhadra has been located at "Adhanga" in Biridi block of Jagatsinghpur district

    Daru of Lord Sudarshan
  • The holy Margo tree should have three branches.
  • The bark of the tree should be barkish.
  • The tree should have a sign of Chakra with a small depression in the middle.
  • Daru (log/wood/tree) of Lord Sudarshan has been located at "Gadakuntania" near Hirapur village in Balakati block of Khurda district

    Every year during Rath Yatra approximately 8 lakhs of people visit Puri, However in this 2015 Nabakalebar Rath Yatra it is going to be like overcrowded.
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