For over a century, devotees deprived of Lord Jagannath’s Raghunath Besha!

Puri: The devotees have been waiting to have darshan of Lord Jagannath in Raghunath Besha (attire) at least once in a lifetime, but the rare sight of deities is only found on the portrait.

The Raghunath Besha is held only on the tithi (Pushya star) of Vaishakha Krushna Dashami to mark Lord Ram’s coronation ceremony. However, the special besha has not been conducted in the past 113 years in Sri Mandir.

The shortage of jewelries and lack of willingness of temple administration were the reasons for which the devotees have been deprived since years to see the Raghunath Besha of Lord Jagannath, said Jagannath cult researcher Bhaskar Mishra.

Lord Jagannath’s feet used in the costume are still in a mutt. The servitors, who were engaged to make the deities to appear in Raghunath Besha, are no more, he said.

The Raghunath Besha of Lord Jagannath is only confined on the display in some workshops and places to make visitors aware of the special attire of the deities.

The deities in Sri Mandir were last dressed in Raghunath Besha in 1905.

According to record of rights of Sri Mandir, the deities had appeared in Raghunath Besha for nine times in the past.

As per the data, the Raghunath Besha of Lord Jagannath was conducted in 1739 followed by the subsequent years 1809, 1833, 1842, 1850, 1893, 1896 and 1905.

The besha features the courtroom of Lord Ram. In the Raghunath Besha, Lord Jagannatha is dressed as Ram and Balabhadra as Lakshman and goddess Subhadra as Ram’s elder sister Shanta. Lord Ram’s other siblings Bharat and Shatrughna and his devotees including Hanuman, King Bibhishan, Nala, Jambavana, Sugreeva, Angada, Vayumukha, Narada, Indra, Brahma, Kubera, Nairuta, Bashishta, Bamadeva, Kashyapa, Katyayana, Sujagyan, Gautam, Vijaya, Vayudeva, Gavaya, Rishabha, Dwividha, Niyuda, and Sumanta are also seen sitting on a long throne temporarily made for the occasion extending from the Ratna Singhasana to the Kalahata Dwara.

Lord Jagannath as lord Ram holds a bow in a posture adorned with jewelries. His devotees Sugreeva, Jambavana, Nala, Nila, Sushena, Angada, Hanuman and Bibhishan stand near the deities. The Raghunath Besha is also called Shringara Besa.

According to reports, efforts were made twice to conduct the rarest of rare besha of Lord Jagannath after the State government took up the management charge of Jagannath Temple in Puri. However, the attempts were failed to arrange the required jewelries used for this besha.

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