India post issued a postage stamp to commemorate Nabakalebara festival, the event which occurs once in 19 years.
The stamp features the logo of Nabakalebara festival held in 2015 and the inscription “Shri Jagannath Dham, Puri” in Hindi and English on Left and right respectively.
Nabakalebara is a festival observed in the Shri Jagannath Temple in puri where the lord Jagannath adorns a new body during Nabakalebara.
The Nabakalebara is a combination of two words-Naba(New) and Kalebara(body) meaning ‘Newbody’.
This festival marks the re-embodiment of the dieties when they relinquish their old bodies and adorns a new one with the soul-substance remaining the same.
The bodies of the deities at the Shri Jagannath Puri have been fabricated out of the wood of the neem tree, which is subjected to decay after a certain period and needs replacement.
The new body change-over ceremony takes place only when there are two Ashadhas called as Purusottam month or the month of Ashadha in which there are two fullmoons, which usually occurs every twelve to nineteen years.
The festival was celebrated in 1912, 1931, 1950, 1969, 1977, 1996 and now in 2015.
The soul is transferred from the old idols to their new bodies in a highly technical and conspicuous manner, prescribed and inherited from generations by the Daitas and the Rakshaks.
In 2015 the Nabakalebara is being held for a period starting with Banajaga Yatra from 29 March 2015 and ending with Niladribije on 30 July as per schedule announced by the temple.
The First step of the Nabakalebara, starts with the Banajaga Jatra, strenous ritual to appease Maa Mangala for hints of the sacred Daru Brahma.
After the Daru Brahma is identified and approved, there are several rituals that grace these ceremonies are Daru Brahma Pujanam, Daru Brahma Snanam and Ankuraropana.
The Daru Brahma are cut first with a golden axe, then with a silver axe and ultimately with an iron axe to size and brought to the temple.
In Koili Baikuntha, the skilled carpenters called Visvakarma fashion the wooden images under the strict supervision and guidance of the Daitas.
After the images are carved out, these are taken inside the temple and the Brahma is transferred from the old images to the new images. The old images are buried in Koili Baikuntha.
The new images are painted and made ready for worship.
Title: Nabakalebara festival
Date of Issue: 17 July 2015
Source: India post