Puri Deities Sparkle in Golden Avatar



Lord Jagannatha 

Lord Jagannath and His siblings, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra sported huge quantities of gold ornaments, marking Suna Besha (golden attire), at Puri on Monday. Like July 14 Rath Yatra, a large number of devotees turned up to watch Suna Besha, a key annual festival that is usually observed a day after Bahuda Yatra, which concluded on Sunday.

Servitors Carrying Vesha 

The Suna Besha was conducted against a backdrop of raging controversy over the recent disappearance of the keys to Jagannath Temple's inner Ratna Bhandar (treasury) and subsequent apprehensions on the safety of the ornaments of the Deities. The Ratna Bhandar has two chambers—outer and inner. For the annual Suna Besha every year, the gold articles of the Deities are fetched from the outer Ratna Bhandar, whose keys are intact. Ornaments, stashed in the inner chamber, are hardly used.

Lord Balabhadra 

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on June 4 constituted a judicial commission to probe the circumstances leading to disappearance of the keys to the inner chamber of Ratna Bhandar. Loss of the keys had come to light in April.

Keeping aside the controversy, the temple administration facilitated timely completion of the rituals of the Deities atop Their chariots. Around 3:45 p.m. the servitors started decking up the chariot-laden Deities with gold articles, and devotees started having darshan of the gold-clad siblings by 4:55 p.m. Temple officials said the Suna Besha arrangement was done in timely fashion.

Lord Jagannatha 

Temple's Chief Administrator, Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra gave a pat to the servitors for better coordination with shrine officials. "We successfully completed Rath Yatra and Bahuda Yatra due to cooperation of servitors. They extended same support during Suna Besha as well," Mohapatra told media persons.

The Jagannath Temple witnesses Suna Besha on four other occasions in a year—Dussehra, Kartika Purnima, Pausa Purnima and Dola Purnima. While those four rituals are observed inside the temple, the Suna Besha performed after the end of Bahuda Yatra is celebrated on the chariots outside the temple. Suna Besha is said to have been introduced during the era of King Kapilendra Deb in 1460 C.E. "He had conquered another King and brought huge quantities on gold on 16 elephants to Puri. He donated all the gold to the Jagannath Temple," servitor Ramakrushna Dasmohapatra said. Superintendent of Police (Puri) Sarthak Sarangi said adequate security arrangements were made for safety of the ornaments and crowd control.

Servitors Carry Gold Paraphernalia onto Chariots 

Devi Subhardra