Puri is not only a land of temples, beaches and secnic spots, but also a land of fairs and festivals. Every season in Puri brings a host of colourful fairs and festivals presenting joy to the visitors. Out of all, the most significant is the Car Festival and it becomes most important when associated with the Navakalevara. The literal meaning of Navakalevara is: ‘Nava’ means ‘New’ and ‘Kalevara’ means ‘Body’ (New Body or re-embodiment). During the Navakalevara ceremony the old figures of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Goddess Shubhadra and Lord Sudarshana are replaced by new onces. The figure of Lord Jagannath shelters a mysterious Brahma Padartha (The Supreme Matter) and is known as Daru Brahma. During Navakalevara this Daru Brahma (Prime-Soul enshrined in wood) is also transferred from the old figure to the new one.
|Next Navakalevara Festival:||July/August 2015|
The Nabakalebara ceremony of the deities takes place in the year when the month of Asadha (June-July) happens to be an intercalary month (Double Asadha or two months of Asadha), which means when one lunar month of Ashadha is followed by another lunar month of Aashadha. The month of double Ashadha is composed of four fortnights, so the Anabasara period of the Navakalevara year actually extends over a period of one month and fifteen days. During this period, the temple remains closed for general public. During the first fortnight, the new deities are engraved on the Nirmana Mandap. The second and third fortnights of the double Ashadha months are known as Mala Masa. In the second fortnight (i.e. the first fortnight of Mala Masa), the Dayitapatis observe the obsequies because of the death of their family Lords as they are the descendants of the Lords. In the third fortnight (i.e. the second fortnight of Mala Masa) the wooden statues are covered with cotton and silken clothes and the Anabasara duties are performed.
Generally double Asadha come once in every 12 years but not strickly so. It may occur also in 8 years or 16 years or 19 years depending on the auspicious day. The Nabakalebar function is essentially unavoidable as an importance of the fact that the Deities of the Jagannath Temple are made of Neem (Margo) wood and wooden images are normally subject to decay in such a span of time, so changes of the Deities during such interval are felt essential. Nabakalebara is a very old ritual of the Grand Temple, but it’s very difficult to guess the exact time since when it has been celebrated. In the 20th century, the Nabakalebara function was celebrated in the Temple in 1912, 1931, 1950, 1969, 1977 and 1996. The idols that are currently being worshipped in the Jagannath Temple were installed in the year 1996. Next Nabakalebar Festival will be celebrated in the month of Ashada (July/August) at Puri in 2015.