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NILADRI BIJE

Among all the rituals associated with world famous Car Festival, the most exciting and last one seems to be Niladri Bije. Deities home coming ceremony to the temple is known as ‘Niladri Vijay’ or ‘Niladri Bije’ and this ritual ends the historic Car Festival. On the 12th day, after the evening rituals, the deities return to the main temple. Deities are taken to the sanctum sanctorum (Ratna Singhasana) in goti (in single) pahandi procession. In goti pahandi procession the Deities move one after another, it means the next Deity only moves from the chariot after the former Deity reached to his/her destination.

Why Lord Jagannath is not allowed to enter the temple?

Mahalaxmi, the consort of the Lord Jagannath was angry because her husband Lord Jagannath took his siblings instead of her to the Gundicha temple. She was left in the main temple and was not part of the journey. On the Hera Panchami day, Goddess Mahalaxmi went to Gundhicha temple to meet Lord Jagannath but he closed the door of Gundicha temple and did not meet her. Due to these actions, the anguish of Mahalaxmi still continues.

On the day of Niladri Bije, the ceremony of return entry into the Jagannath temple started with much joy and fun in presence of devotees, servitors and temple officials. But Goddess Mahalaxmi maintains a close vigil from the ‘Chahani Mandap’ (a projected platform situated at the right side of the temple main gate) on the activities on the Nandighosa Ratha (the chariot of Lord Jagannath). She allows Lord Balabhadra, Goddess Subhadra and Lord Sudarshana to enter the temple, but when Lord Jagannath tried to enter the temple, She orders her servitors to close the Jaya Vijaya gate of the Singhadwar entrance and stop entry of Lord Jagannath to the temple. All the request to open the Jaya Vijaya gate was turned down and Lord Jagannath stands outdoor like an unfortunate offender.

Niladri Bije
Chahani Mandapa of Lord Jagannath temple
Niladri Bije
Goddess Mahalaxmi approaching to Chahani Mandapa

Niladri Bije
Goddess Mahalaxmi on Chahani Mandapa with her servitors
Niladri Bije
Lord Jagannath on his chariot with his servitors

Niladri Bije
Goddess Mahalaxmi have a glance of Lord Jagannath during Niladri Bije
Niladri Bije
Lord Jagannath have a glance of Goddess Mahalaxmi during Niladri Bije

Niladri Bije
Goddess Mahalaxmi closes the Jaya Vijaya gate of the Singhadwar entrance
Niladri Bije
Lord Jagannath is waiting outside the Jaya Vijaya gate

How Lord Jagannath pleases Goddess Lakshmi to enter the temple?

Lord Jagannath doesn’t react and maintains his calm. He swallows all her insults without a word of reaction. He does not mind what his consort says. In protection he only extends his explanation pleasantly and trying to convince Mahalaxmi. Her anger and frustration are expressed by one group of servitors and another group of servitors represent Lord Jagannath. To conciliate Goddess Mahalaxmi and to gain access to the temple, Lord Jagannath finally offers rasagolla (sweet made from cottage cheese) as a peace offering to soothe her anger and requested her to forgive him. After a long conversation, Mahalakshmi finally calmed down and accepted his apology and opens the temple gate and allows Lord Jagannath to enter the temple. Before entering the main temple, a traditional act between the servitors of Lord Jagannath and Goddess Mahalaxmi was held at the lion’s gate (Jaya Vijaya Door) of the temple. Lord Jagannath is made to sit beside Lakshmi where a ritual of reunion is rehearsed and finally Lord Jagannath ascends the Ratna Singhasana (sanctum) and rejoins his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra.

Niladri Bije
Goddess Mahalaxmi opens the Jaya Vijaya gate
Niladri Bije
Lord Jagannath is entering the Jagannath temple

Why Niladri Bije is also known as Rasagola day?

To pacify Goddess Mahalaxmi and to gain access to the temple, Lord Jagannath offers rasagola to her, so this auspicious day, Niladri Bije is also famous as ‘Rasagola Day’ in Odisha. As a part of this ritual, thousands of devotees offered rasagola bhoga to the Deities before they were taken into the sanctum sanctorum in the ceremonial goti pahandi procession.

Rasagola Day
A vendor is selling Rasagola in front of the chariots
Rasagola Day
A devotee is offering Rasagola to the Deities

The historical Rath Yatra (Car Festival) comes to an end after the Deities reached the Ratna Singhasana (sanctum sanctorum). Priests will recommence normal daily rituals in the temple starting with Maha snana (the grand bath) followed by Bada singhara (night dress) and Pahuda (sleeping). Devotees can taste the world famous ‘Mahaprasad’ known as ‘Nilachala Abhada’ on next day.

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