The Banajaga Yatra is the beginning of the Nabakalebara rituals to make new idols of Lord Jagannath,Lord Balabhadra,Devi Subhadra and Sudarshan began in Puri on Sunday with the launch of the search for Daru ,”the sacred wood from neem trees for the idols”. The first servitor of Lord Jagannath , Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb, gave the go-ahead for the Banajaga expedition. The Banajaga Yatra is the expedition for search of wood from neem trees for carving out new idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra as well as Sudarshan.The chief servitors of the four deities were handed over ‘ajnamalas’ (permission of the deities) by the temple priests.Pati Mahapatra, one of the seniormost temple servitors, decorated the four deities with traditional ‘Sarees.’ The ‘daitapatis’ came out of the temple at about 7.20 pm in a ceremonial procession of flag-bearers. They marched towards the Jagannath Ballav Mutt where they would stay for 36 hours. On their way, the ‘daitapatis’ were handed over Sankalp Gua (betel nut) by Rajguru of Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb as a symbol of entrustment for the religious rite.The last Nabakalebara took place in 1996.
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