Navakalevara - Information about the Ritual
Navakalevara - Collection of Daru (Wood) for new Deities
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Navakalevara - Cutting of the Daru (Wood) for new Deities
Navakalevara - Carving of new Deities & Burial of old Deities


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

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Tree with the symbolic mark of Wheel (chakra)
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Tree with the symbolic mark of Mace (Gada)

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Cobra representing Ananta Sesa

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