Lakhs thronged the Pilgrim City to observe the month-long Kartik Brata, beginning Monday. As per the tradition, the devotees, mostly aged and widows, took a dip early in the morning and rushed to Jagannath temple to witness ‘mangal arati’.
As usual, the temple administration rescheduled the daily rituals to facilitate devotees to have darshan. The brata would conclude on the Kartik Purnima day with devotees taking a holy dip and having darshan of Lord Jagannath.
Early in the morning, devotees took dip in one of the five holy ponds of the city.
As per the scriptures, the Kartika Brata observers should bathe in any of the Narendra, Markanda, Indradyumna, Swetganga and Mahodadhi tanks, offer prayers to the Sun God and then have ‘darshan’ of the Trinity at the temple.
The holy Basil (tulsi) plants which they worship daily during the month of Kartika are the centre of the puja.
The devotees carry a Basil sapling over their heads to the holy ponds where they take a dip and after performing puja they immerse it in the sacred pond.
Last year, over five lakh devotees witnessed the ‘Rajrajeswar Vesha’ of the Trinity in the sanctum sanctorum of the Jagannath temple during the Kartik Purnima.
Lord Loses in Game
Lord Jagannath and his consort Goddess Laxmi participated in a dice game (gambling), popularly called ‘Kauri Khela’, on the occasion of Kumara Purnami in Jagannath Temple. As per the tradition, following defeat in the game, Lord gets imprisoned in the temple of Mahalaxmi, located on the complex.
Late in the night, servitors escorted Mahalaxmi to the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Jagannath temple.
The ceremonial dice game was played atop Ratnasimhasan between the servitors playing on behalf of Lord Jagannath and Mahalaxmi. Conventional coin ‘Kauri’ (small conch cells) was used in the game. In the final game, the Lord conceded defeat.
The servitors of Mahalaxmi imprisoned Lord Jagannath-Nilamadhav, represented by image, in the Mahalaxmi temple. He will remain there for a week. During the week-long punishment, Lord Nilamadhav remains tied to the throne of Mahalaxmi.
To mark this ceremony, devotees too indulge in large-scale gambling all through the night. It is a popular belief that gambling on this night brings wealth and prosperity.