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Jagannath Besha:An Introduction Why the Beshas of Lord Jagannath

Why the Beshas of Lord Jagannath?

The lord of Orissa,Lord Jagannath is adorned with different beshas throughout the year.So what are the reasons behind this unique and extremely extra ordinary tradition of adornments & Beshas of the Lord? Well Just like His manifold forms, the reasons offered are many.

First, Lord Jagannath is also regarded as Vishnu, the Creator Supreme, who loves ornaments and takes many forms. Thus in tandem with His wishes, He, is adorned with superfluous ornaments and adorned new robes at regular intervals. Second, Lord Jagannath and His Siblings appear crude with the eyes and nose and mouth of the icons lacking finesse. Lord Jagannath's idol like that of Lord Balabhadra's, doesn't have ears or feet and the hands are half-made. This creates enormous possibilities for Besha or adornments. The third reason that sounds more practical is that the practice of adornments/Beshas perhaps is to counter the aboriginal effect of the sculptures by the sophisticated Hindu ornamentation. A hallmark of the Jagannath culture, it may be pointed out, is this blending, this union of the tribal and non-tribal, the aboriginal and brahminical. Viewed in this perspective the practice of Besha appears symbolic.

The many Beshas of Lord Jagannath of Puri also reveal his multi-faceted personality. The God's regal trait is reflected in the Suna Besha. His mighty prowess is displayed in the Kaliya Dalana Besha, while His endearing form revealed in the Nabanka and Ghodalagi Besha. On mentally visualizing the Beshas of Lord Jagannath one after the other, it becomes a fascinating kaleidoscopic vision revealing the deity's multi faceted personality.

As is evident, the Lord Jagannath forms the core of all these adornments. However there is an exception to this rule with the the Pralambasurabadha Besha as this is the only adornment where the Lord Jagannath's elder brother Lord Balabhadra occupies the central place. The Pralambasurabadha Besha is held annually on the 20th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrav (August - September).As is the norm with the Lord, there is a special set of Sevayats (servitors) who are assigned specially to dress the lord . They are known as the Puspalaks or Singharis.

Mentioned below are the important Beshas of the Lord: