‘Suna Besha’: Know The History, Types Of Gold Ornamants

Puri: The ‘Suna Besha’ ritual of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra is now under way in Odisha’s Puri.

This ritual is observed on Ashadha Shukla Ekadashi Tithi on the 11th bright fortnight in Asadha, a day after the sibling deities return to Jagannath Temple after a nine-day annual sojourn to Gundicha Temple in the Pilgrim Town.

Golden Tales

Legend has it that ‘Suna Besha’ began during the reign of King Kapilendra Deb in 1460 when the triumphant king brought 16 cartloads of gold to Puri after winning wars over the rulers of the Deccan (Southern India).

He donated the gold and diamond to Lord Jagannath and instructed the temple priests to get ornaments crafted out of them.

The Vault

The gold ornaments are stored in the bhandara ghar. Escorted by armed policemen and temple officials, bhandara mekap priests (store in-charge) bring the gold jewellery laced with invaluable stones and hand it over to Puspalaka and Daitapati priests.

All That Glitters & Shines

According to temple sources, the sibling deities wear gold jewellery, weighing nearly 208 kg (2 quintals 8 kg), on this occasion.

It takes the servitors almost an hour to decorate the Lords with gold ornaments and other jewellery — Sri Hasta (gold hand), Sri Payar (gold feet), Sri Mukuta (big gold crown), Sri Mayur Chandrika (gold peacock feather for Lord Jagannath), Sri Chulapati (an ornament traditionally worn on the forehead), Sri Kundal (gold earring with a hanging ball), Sri Rahurekha (a half square-shaped gold aura), Sri Mala (necklaces), Sri Chita (third eye of Lords), Sri Chakra (gold wheel), Sri Gada (gold bludgeon), Sri Padma (gold lotus) and Sri Sankha (a silver conch).

Traditional Designs

The deities were decked up with gold ornaments of nearly 138 designs during the era of Kapilendra Deb. The number has come down to 20-30 now.

The designs are still intact. They are repaired as and when required using raw gold donated by pilgrims.

The gold ornaments are refurbished every year ahead of Suna Besha.

Other Occasions

The Lords are adorned in gold on four other occasions —Dussehra, Kartika Purnima, Pausa Purnima and Dola Purnima — in a calendar year. These, however, are observed inside the temple.

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