Introduction

Offerings

Daily Service

Servitors

Festivals

Car Festival

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                 LORD LINGARAJA
   

    Bhubaneswar is famous as a Saiva Khetra and Lord Lingaraja is
    its  principal deity.  Lingaraja, otherwise called Kirtivasa,
    Kruttivasa,  Bhubaneswar and Tri-Bhubaneswar, is believed  to
    be  the  most sacred of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India  and  is
    held  in high esteem by every pious Hindu.  It is a Swayambhu
    (self   established)  Linga.   The  form   in  which  it   is
    represented in the sanctuary is that of a huge uncarved block
    of  granite,  about 8 feet (2.4384 metres) in  diameter,  and
    rising  eight  inches (0.2032 metres) above the level of  the
    floor.  It is half-buried in the centre of the sanctum and is
    surrounded  by  a raised rim of black chlorite ending on  the
    north-side into a point.  This rim is called the Yoni, or the
    female  emblem.   The upper surface of the granite block  was
    originally  unhewn.   Although  frequent  washings  for  many
    centuries  have given it a polish, it is even now very uneven
    and undulating.
    Vaishnavite influence on Lingaraja 
    A natural line that exists in the Swayambhu Linga (Lingaraja)
    is generally pointed out as the line demarcating the Siva and
    Vishnu portions of the same deity who is invoked as Harihara.
    The  leaves  of  vilva  and   tulasi,  which  are  favourites
    respectively  of Siva and Vishnu, are used in daily  worship.
    The  Brushava  Stambha bears at the top not only a bull,  the
    mount of Siva;  but also a Garuda, the mount of Vishnu, which
    having  been placed side by side in front of the temple, have
    evidently  been meant to make the synthesis of the two  cults
    visual to a visitor at his first approach to the shrine.  The
    crowning  members of the Lingaraja temple can be seen from  a
    distance  and the topmost two of them are an ayudha  (weapon)
    and  a pataka (flag).  In order to bring home to the  general
    public  that the shrine belongs to both the sect, the  ayudha
    which  must  have originally been a trisula, was replaced  by
    one consisting of half a disc and a trident.
    Moreover,  in  remodelling  the Lingaraja temple,  the  Ganga
    kings also introduced some Vaishnavite features which are not
    usually  found  in  other  Saiva shrines.   In  the  southern
    door-jambs  of the Natamandira are to be found the images  of
    the  Vaishnava Dwarapalas :  Jaya Vijaya, in place of  Chanda
    and  Prachanda.   On the western side of the main  temple  of
    Lingaraja  and  on the northern side of its Bhogamandapa  the
    images  of Jagannath and Lakshmi-Narayan have been enshrined,
    so  that  a devotee while making circumambulation will  first
    meet  these  Vaishnavite  deities before he enters  the  main
    shrine  to  pay  homage to the Swayambhu  Linga.   Among  the
    subsidiary  temples  standing  within  the  compound  of  the
    Lingaraja,  there are two to the south of the main shrine  of
    which  one contains the image of the Nrusimha incarnation  of
    Vishnu  and the other, the three images of Ananta,  Basudeva,
    and  Ekanamsa.  Besides, on the day Lord Lingaraja returns to
    the temple after completing the Car Festival of Asokastami, a
    mock  quarrel  is  staged  between  two  parties  of  priests
    representing  Lingaraja  and Parvati, because during the  car
    festival of the former takes with him Lakshmi (Rukmini), wife
    of Vishnu and not Parvati.
    The  cumulative effect of the influence of the Jagannath cult
    on  the  Lingaraja  temple  have been that it  has  lost  its
    distinctive  character of a Saiva shrine and has adopted  the
    cosmopolitanism of the Jagannath at Puri.  The priests, known
    as Badus, who have been described in the sixty-second chapter
    of  the Ekamra Purana asthe descendants of a Savara mother by
    a Saiva saint known as Siddhabhuti are like the Daitapatis of
    the  Jagannath  temple still the custodians of the  Lingaraja
    shrine,  although the Brahmins have also taken a share in the
    worship  in  recent times.  'Notwithstanding  the  well-known
    orthodox  dictum that the offerings given to Siva are not  to
    be  partaken of by any Hindu, even the cooked rice offered to
    Lingaraja  is  eaten  by  all   caste  Hindus  including  the
    Brahmins'.   The  custom is certainly analoguous to  the  one
    prevalent  in the Jagannath temple where, while partaking  of
    the  cooked rice offered to the god, no caste distinction  is
    observed.
    That  these influences of the Jagannath cult in the Lingaraja
    temple  are  not  of recent origin is proved  by  the  Ekamra
    Purana and other allied works.
    Offerings
    The deity is bathed with water several times every day and is
    wiped  dry  after  each lustration.   Offerings  of  flowers,
    sandal paste and cloth are placed on the block (the Linga and
    the Yoni pitha), and other offerings are put near it, and the
    divinity   is  invoked  to   accept  them.   Hemlock  (Conium
    maculatum)  or hemlock flowers which are generally given to a
    Siva  Linga  are  not allowed in the Lingaraja  temple.   The
    leaves of vilva (Aegle marmelos) and tulasi (Ocimum sanctum),
    are  used  in  daily  worship.   Offerings  of  cooked  rice,
    curries,  and sweet-meats are displayed in the  Bhogamandapa,
    whence  the  divinity is invoked to accept  them.   Coconuts,
    ripe  plantains,  and  kora-khai  are  generally  offered  to
    Lingaraja by the pilgrims.  The beverage of bhanga is offered
    to  Lingaraja by some devotees especially on the day of  Pana
    Sankranti.
    Daily Sevices
    The  door  of the temple is opened in the morning at about  6
    a.m.  Before the door of the main temple is opened, the Palia
    Badu  with a pitcher of water goes round the temple  compound
    sprinkling  water  in  worship on all the phallic  images  of
    Siva.   At  about 6.30 a.m.  the door of the main  temple  is
    unlocked.   A  servant called Akhanda lights the lamp in  the
    cella  to awaken the Lord from his sleep.  Half an hour later
    the  Palia Badu fetches two vessels of water for the ablution
    of the deity.  The thre Brahmin servants Charchita, Panda and
    Patri  perform  the  act  of adoration in  which  incense  is
    lighted and arati is done.
    When  tha  arati is over, the Palia Badu begins to brush  the
    teeth  of  the deity.  A stick smashed at one end to  form  a
    brush  is  moved  about in front of the  stone  to  represent
    symbolically  the  act of brushing the teeth.  Water is  then
    poured  out  and  a  napkin  turned  about  to  complete  the
    symbolical ablution of the face.
    Flowers  used  for decoration on the previous night are  then
    removed.   Lingaraja  is then bathed and fresh flowers  along
    with  leaves  of  vilva  (Aegle   marmelos)  are  placed   in
    decoration on the deity.  While bathing Lingaraja, the priest
    announces  that this is being done in the name of the Raja of
    Puri.
    After  this  act  is over, the temple is thrown open  to  the
    prilgrims  up to 12 noon.  The transverse beam separating the
    cella  from the Jagamohan is removed and pilgrims are allowed
    to enter the former.
    The  temple  is closed at about 12 O'clock(noon) until  about
    3.30  P.M.   After  the door is closed a  ceremony  known  as
    'Mahasnana'  is performed by Palia Badu who bathes the  deity
    with water.  The Panda Brahmin pours 'Panchamruta' (a mixture
    of  milk, curdled milk, clarified butter, honey and gur) upon
    the  deity  for  purification.  The  Brahmin  servant  called
    Changara  is  now  called  by the Palia  Badu  for  supplying
    clothes and ornaments for decoration.  The Palia Badu changes
    the  dress  and  lays  a  few ornaments upon  it  by  way  of
    decoration.   Flowers  and vilva leaves are also changed  and
    the  floor  is  completely washed.  At about 1 P.M.,  a  ripe
    plantain  is  divided into two, one half is offered to  Surya
    (Sun God) and the other half to Dwarapala (the deity guarding
    the doorway).  Sweets are offered to each with half a banana.
    Between 1.00 and 1.30 P.M.  the food offering called Ballabha
    Bhoga (breakfast containing curdled milk, curds, and khai) is
    placed  before  the  deity  by  Patri  Brahmin.   After  this
    breakfast  (previously  it  was  done in  the  morning.   But
    nowadays  there  has  been   considerable  dislocation,   and
    Ballabha  Bhoga  or  breakfast  has  been  shifted  to  early
    afternoon)  the consecrated food is carried to the temple  of
    Parvati  and placed before her as an offering, in  consonance
    with the practice observed by the orthodox Hindu housewives.
    At about 2 P.M.  the Sakala Dhupa (morning's offeing of food)
    takes  place.  After the food is offered to Lingaraja by  the
    Charchita  Brahmin  some of the offerings are carried to  the
    temple  of Parvati to serve her.  Then comes the ceremony  of
    waving light.
    There  is  another  offering of food at 3.30 P.M.   known  as
    Bhanda  Dhupa or food offered at Bhogamandapa.  This food  is
    later  shared  by  the Panda, Patri and Palia  Badu.   It  is
    during  this  ceremony that food offered by the  pilgrims  is
    also presented before the deity.
    Then  the temple is once more open to the pilgrims for  about
    an  hour,  after  which  the  door  is  closed  for  a  light
    refreshment known as Ballabha Dhupa.
    Then  follows  the Dwipahar Dhupa (mid-day meal) which  takes
    place nowadays at about 5 P.M.  After this the door is closed
    for  the  siesta of the Lord.  At about 7 P.M.  the  door  is
    opened  by  the  Palia  Badu.   Then  the  Sandhya  arati  is
    performed and the pilgrims are allowed to visit the Lord till
    8 P.M.
    The  door is afterwards closed for another light meal  called
    Sahana Dhupa.  After serving the meals the ceremony of waving
    light (arati) is once more performed before the deity.
    Between  9 and 9.30 P.M.  preparation are being made for  the
    last  service  of  the day, namely, Bada Singara  (the  great
    decoration).
    The deity is decorated with flowers and ornaments after which
    light  food offering is made.  Lingaraja is then supposed  to
    retire  for  the  night.  A wooden palanquin is laid  in  the
    room, incense lighted, drinking water is served, and prepared
    betel  is placed near-by.  The Panchabaktra Mahadeva comes to
    the palanquin and returns to his own abode after the arati is
    performed.   This  is a bronze image of Mahadeva having  five
    faces  and Parvati in his lap.  The daily work of the  temple
    ends  with  this  service.  Then the door of  the  temple  is
    closed for the night.
    Each of these ceremonies is accompanied by ritual observances
    and recitations of mantras especially provided for them.  The
    various offerings to the god in the temple become mahaprasad.
    Although  offerings  to Siva are not attached  with  sanctity
    elsewhere, the Bhogas of Lingaraja are taken as an exception.
    They have the same sanctity attached to them as the Bhogas of
    Jagannath  at  Puri  and Ananta Vasudeva at  Bhubaneswar  and
    their  virtues are dilated upon in the Siva Purana and Kapila
    Samhita.
    Sebakas of Lingaraja
    There  are  various  classes of servitors in  the  temple  of
    Lingaraja.   They  are  Akhanda, Abadhana,  Bauri,  Bhandari,
    Bhitar   Khuntia,  Changara,   Chaparasi,  Charchita,  Chata,
    Dakhinaghar  sebaka,  Dhoba,  Dhopakhalia,  Garabadu,  Gauda,
    Ghantua,  Gudia,  Hadapa  Naika,  Kahalila,  Karatia,  Keuta,
    Kumbhara,  Mahasuara,  Mekap,  Palia  Badu,  Panchuati,  Puja
    Panda,  Panti  Badu,  Parvati,  Pasupalaka,  Patri,  Pharaka,
    Parakarana,  Pradhan, Puspanjalia, Rosa Paika, Samartha, Teli
    and Baidya.
    Priests  and servants connected with the temple were few when
    the  original arrangements were made.  But later on, families
    grew  in  size or split up, as a result of which  there  were
    many  claimants  to the same office.  So, the  temple  scribe
    called  Parakarana  maintains  a list and  notifies  to  each
    individual  concerned  his  khatani, for the  following  day.
    Khatani  is a term used to denote the particular duty which a
    person  has to perform.  Since there are many people entitled
    to  perform the same duty and receive emoluments, the turn of
    each comes by rotation.
    Many  of  the Brahmin and non-Brahmin Sebakas have  given  up
    service  in the temple, or continue it, not personally but by
    proxy.   So  some  of them have  indeed  become  professional
    substitutes  for others and are thus able to supplement their
    meagre income.
    Festivals
    The festivals celebrated in honour of the divinity are called
    yatras.   There are 14 principal and 12 minor yatras observed
    in  a year.  The year begins from the 1st day of new moon  in
    the  month  of Margasira (November-December) when the  ritual
    year  is  said  to commence, and the  festivals  are  usually
    calculated from that date.
    In  the temple there are deputies or Chalanti Pratima,  viz.,
    Chandra  Sekhar,  Gopalini, Durga, Dolagovinda,  Panchabaktra
    and  Basudeva.   All these images are worshipped in  a  small
    temple  called  Dakhina  Ghar  (Southern  Temple).   In  some
    festival days the mobile deputies go out on courtesy visit to
    different  temples.   Since  the deity Lingaraja is  a  solid
    block  of  stone,  it is represented by small  bronze  images
    called  Chalanti  Pratima.  When the deputies are to go  out,
    they are first taken to the transverse beam by the respective
    priests  after which they are taken to the decorated  Vimana.
    Before  the  deputies are taken out a coconut is broken  near
    god Ganesh for the smooth ending of the festival.
    The  hereditary temple officials, such as a representative of
    Panchuati,  Parakarana,  Samantra, Parichha, etc.,  accompany
    the  deities  on  festivals along with  other  Sebakas.   The
    magistrate and the police maintain law and order during these
    processions.
    The   fourteen   principal   festivals  of   the   Lord   are
    Prathamastami,   Pravarana    Sasthi,    Pusyaviseka,   Makar
    Sankranti,   Maghasaptami,  Sivaratri,   Asokastami,   Damana
    Bhanjika,   Chandan   Yatra,    Parasurama   Astami,   Sayana
    Chaturdasi, Pabitra Ropani, Yamadvitia and Uthana Chaturdasi.
    The  twelve  minor  festivals are  Dhanu  Sankranti,  Basanta
    Panchami,  Bhaimi  Ekadasi,  Kapila Yatra, Dola  Yatra,  Naba
    Patrika,   Sitala  Sasthi,   Janmastami,  Ganesh  Chaturdasi,
    Durgastami, Sodasadina Parba and Kumarottsava.
    Car Festival of Lord Lingaraja:
    The  Car  Festival  of  Lord   Lingaraja  is  celebrated   at
    Bhubaneswar  on  the day of Asokastami.  In the  village  Dia
    near  Nirakarpur in the Khurda sub-division a car festival of
    Lord  Kapileswara, a form of Siva, is also held on this  day.
    Except  these  two places, nowhere in Orissa car festival  is
    held on the day of Asokastami.
    The  festival takes place on the 8th of the wane in the month
    of  Chaitra (March-April) the day preceding Ramanavami.   The
    day is held sacred, because on this day Sita when confined by
    Ravana  in  Asoka  Bana is said to have  offered  some  Asoka
    (Saraca  indica)  flowers to god while praying  for  re-union
    with  her  Lord Ramachandra.  Hindu wives mark it  by  eating
    eight  Asoka  buds  because they believe that  they  will  be
    relieved  of  all  troubles  and unhappiness  for  the  year.
    Spinsters  establish bond friendship by placing Asoka buds in
    each  other  mouth.  A detailed account on this festival  has
    been given in the Ekamra Purana which spread over many pages.
    On  the  day  before  the   car  festivals,  the  chariot  is
    ceremonially purified by the Kshetrabasi Brahmins of the town
    and  the  flag is fixed at the top of the chariot.   This  is
    called Neta Uchhaba(Flag ceremony).  At the night of the Neta
    Uchhaba, barren women bathe in the water of the Marichi Kunda
    situated  near  the Mukteswara temple.  It is  believed  that
    when  a barren woman bathes in the water of this tank on this
    particular occasion, she is relieved of sterility.
    On the day of Asokastami towards mid-day three deities, i.e.,
    Chandrasekhar   (the  respresentative  of  Lord   Lingaraja),
    Rukmini  and Basudeva are ceremonially brought to ascend  the
    car.   The  image  of  Chandrasekhar  is  a  four-armed  Siva
    image-two  arms  in abhaya posture, the third holding an  axe
    (Parashu)  and the fourth holding a deer (Mruga).  The  image
    of  Basudeva  is  a four-armed Vishnu image  holding  Sankha,
    Chakra, Gada and Padma.  the image of Rukmini is a four-armed
    Durga  image  holding Sankha, Chakra and Sula in  two  hands.
    All  are bronze images.  The sitting position of the  deities
    is   like   this  :   Rukmini  is  seated  in   the   middle,
    Chandrasekhar to her right and Basudeva to her left.  An idol
    of  Brushava and a big wooden image of Brahma, who is said to
    be  the  charioteer (Sarathi) of the car, are placed  in  the
    car.
    The  car is drawn westward up to Badhei Banka and from  there
    northward  to the Rameswara temple situated at a distance  of
    1.5  km.   from the Lingaraja temple.  The road on which  the
    car  is  pulled is called the Ratha Danda.  Previously,  cane
    ropes  were used to draw the car, but nowadays coir ropes are
    used  for the purpose.  Hundreds of people pull the car  with
    devotion.   The  womenfolk  do  not pull  the  car,  but  get
    satisfication  by touching rope.  When the car is pulled, the
    Dahuka standing on the left side of the car shouts eloquently
    many  vulgar couplets which the crowd enjoys.  On the way the
    car  stops in the Asura Kiari where Pana and Muan are offered
    to  propitiate  the Asuras for the safe journey of  the  car.
    After  the  car crossed the Asura Kiari it is drawn up  to  a
    banian  tree  called Debasabha Batabrukshyua where it  stops.
    The  deities  are taken to the Rameswara temple and are  kept
    for  four days in a small apartment which is called  Gundicha
    Ghar.   During  their  stay at Gundicha Ghar, in  a  striking
    resemblance to the car festival at Puri, Parvati comes on the
    3rd  day  to express her indignation as she was not  made  to
    accompany  her consort Lord Lingaraja in the car.  She breaks
    (the  priests of Parvati act for this scene) a portion of the
    car and goes back to the temple.  On the fifth day, the three
    deities  start  the  return   jouney  called  Bahuda.   While
    returning, the car is drawn to the temple from the back side.
    (The  car does not take a turn.  The altar of the deities  is
    only  changed).   Hence, the saying in Oriya :  Rukuna  Ratha
    analeuta  i.e., the car of of Rukuna or Rukmini (Rukmini  and
    Basudeva also sit in the car along with Chandra Sekhar) never
    turns  back.  When Lingaraja is about to enter the sanctuary,
    Parvati shuts the door and a mock quarrel takes place between
    the  two  parties  of  priests on  behalf  of  Lingaraja  and
    Parvati.   However,  Parvati is pacified later on and  allows
    the deities to enter the temple.  Thus the festival ends.
    The Car 
    The  car  is known as Debadalana.  It is also  called  Rukuna
    Rath.   On  the day of Basanta Panchami, the 5th day  in  the
    bright  fortnight  of  Magha   (January-February)  the  Bauri
    Sebakas  are honoured with new clothes and eight days  before
    the  Siva  Ratri  festival  they go to the  forest,  cut  the
    selected   trees,   and  bring  the   logs  to   the   temple
    ceremonially.   The construction of the car begins after  the
    Siva   Ratri  festival.   It  is   a  four-wheeled   car   of
    disc-wheels.   The  four sides of the car are decorated  with
    wood-carved  images  of  Surya, Baruna, Indra,  Agni,  Durga,
    Siva,  Yama  and  Kartikeya.  The flag bears  the  emblem  of
    Ardhachandra.   Two  pairs of wooden horses in  their  riding
    posture  are tied in front of the car.  The height of the car
    is  about 35 feet (10.6680 metres), the diametre of the wheel
    is  9  feet (2.7432 metres), the diametre of the axle  is  22
    inches  (0.5588 metres), the thickness of the wheel is  about
    10  inches (0.2540 metres), and the distance between the  two
    wheels  is about 10 feet (0.2540 metres).  The cover-cloth of
    the  car  is  of four colours, viz., yellow, red,  white  and
    blue.
    Management of the Temple :
    The  temple  is  now under the management of a  Trust  Board,
    consisting  of a President and eight nominated members.   The
    Executive  Officer, an Officer belonging to O.A.S.  cadre and
    who  is on deputation from the Office of Collector, Khurda is
    the  ex-officio Secretary of the Trust Board.  He is assisted
    by an Addl.Executive Officer of O.A.S.cadre.
    Development works
    The  temple percinct, the main temple, and the Parvati temple
    have  been electrified, the inauguration of which took  place
    on  the  14th  January, 1967.  The conservation work  of  the
    temple  is  under  the   supervision  of  the  Archaeological
    Department, Government of India.
    Source : Orissa District Gazetteers (PURI), 1977