Thursday, June 30, 2016

Phooluri (Phuluri) Care of Lord Shree Jagannath, Balabhadra, Maa Shubhadra at the Time of Anbasara

Phooluri or Phuluri Seva or care is a special ritual practiced in the Jagannath Temple of Odissa. This is done after the Snana Yatra episode during which the deities are brought out for bath only once in a year. After the deities are bathed with lots of water they fall sick and retire in the rest room. This period is known as the Anbasara period. During this time no one is allowed inside the room other than the sevaits of the deities. The ailing deities Lord Jagannath, Balavadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan are confined inside the Anbasara Ghara. They suffer from fever during this period.

The Daitapatis are the only people allowed inside the room during this period. They are the ones who serve the lords and are allowed to stay close to the gods. They practice the ritual Phooluri seva which is done each year during the fever period of the gods. This ritual was first introduced by Atibadi Jagannath Das who was the autor of Srimad Bhagabat. He was a contemporary of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This ritual holds lot of significance among the followers and devotees.

Lord Shree Jagannath, Balabhadra, Maa Shubhadra
Phooluri seva or care cannot be provided without sesame oil. This oil is provided by Odiya Math which was established by Jagannath Dash. The ingredients of Phooluri oil include 4kgs of pure sesame oil, Bena roots, fragrant flowers like Jai, Malli and Jui. The oil smells beautiful and the mixture is left in an earthen pot. The pot is sealed with earthen clay and stored underground since Hera Panchami to Anabasara. A saint of Odiya Math is sent to fetch the pot from underground and the Daitapatis apply the oil on the body of the deities. There are approximately 165 Daitapatis in service of the Lord and his family. The ritual is a significant one. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Ayurvedic Medicine Dashamula for Lord Jagannath

Dashamula or Dashamoolah is an Ayurvedic medicine practiced in India since ages to cleanse and treat various types of health issues. It is a mix of herbs and is quite effective. The Dashamula medicine is used to treat Lord Jagannath after the Snana Yatra when he is bathed with lots of water from the pots filled with holy water from the sacred well. The Lord and his family bathe only once a year and it is a huge festival in Odissa. Post the bathing ceremony the Lord along with his family rests in a sickroom and is treated with Dashamulah.

Dashamoolah in English means 10 roots. This concoction is a cleansing one and is prepared from the roots of 10 herbs. In Ayurveda the body is treated as the abode of 5 elements and weakening of one element creates misbalance within the system. This concoction is prepared with herbs and sesame oil to cleanse the pitta dosha or the fiery element. It is basically made into a liquid form; however, Dashamoolah can also be herbal steam. This encourages the flashing out of toxins through the sweat glands. However, the Lord is offered the liquid form of medication.
Ayurvedic Medicine Dashamula
Dahsamoolah is also known as Dashamula kashaya and is used to treat kapha, cough, vata, asthma, cold and inflammation too. The Lord after bathing so much is inflicted with fever and Dashamula treats him of fever, cough and pain in flanks. The Lord is also offered pepper along with this liquid medicine to make it more effective. The ingredients of Dashamula include:
  •       Bilva- Aegle Marmelos
  •       Agnimantha- Permna Mucronata
  •       Shyonaka- Oroxylum Indicum
  •       Patala- Stereospermum Suaveolens
  •       Gambhari- Gmelina Arborea
  •       Brihati- Solanum Indicum
  •       Kantakari- Solanum Xanthocarpum
  •       Gokshura- Tribullus Terrestris
  •       Shalaparni- Desmodium Gangeticum
  •       Prishnaparni- Uraria Picta
8 parts water is mixed and strained to get the medicine. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Mahaprabhu Lord Jagannath Snana Yatra at Puri Temple

The Snana Yatra or the bathing festival is a famous religious festival in Puri and it has lot of significance within the country too. People from all over the globe visit Puri, Odisha during this festival to be a part of Lord Jagannath’s journey to his maternal aunty's(Mousi Maa temple) home. It is observed and celebrated on Purnima or the full moon day of the Hindu month of Jyestha which falls in May or June. For the Vaishnava sect it is an important festival. This Snana yatra is the only time when the deities- Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra, Sudarshan and Madanmohan are brought out of the Janagannath Temple and taken to the Sana Bedi. This is known as “Pahandi’ by local people.

This procession looks marvelous with hoards of devotees dancing, singing, pulling the rope of the holy chariot along with purohits chanting mantras. On the Snana Bedi all the deities are bathed ceremonially. The bathing venue is decorated beautifully with lots of flowers and colorful clothes. The Snana Yatra witnesses large number of visitors from around the world. It is a belief of the devotees of Lord Jagannath that if they make a pilgrimage to this land during this celebration, they will be purged of all sins; hence, the crowd.

In Skanda Purana it is mentioned that King Indradyumna was the one who first performed this ceremony when the idols were installed in the shrine for the first time. Since, then the people of Odisha have celebrated this bathing festival. The Snana Bedi or the Snana Mandapa is situated in the north-east direction of Ananda Bazaar beside the outer wall of the temple. The length and width of the platform is 76 feet. The height is also long enough for all the devotees standing outside to see the Lord and his family.

Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Maa Subhadra on Snana-Mandapam (Bathing Platform)

Since, this is the bathing festival; the deities are bathed with the holy water from Suna Kua or the Golden Well. 108 pots of water are fetched from the well by the Suaras and the Mahasuaras on this auspicious day. Water from this holy well is fetched once in a year only, during this festival. People drawing water from the well cover their mouths with clean cloth lest the water gets contaminated. The pots are kept inside the Bhoga Mandap where the priests purify them with turmeric, sandal, whole rice, perfumes and flowers. The Suaras later carry the pots out to the Snana Mandap where the Jalabhishek is performed amidst the chant of Vedic mantras by priests and blowing of conch shells accompanied with Kirtana.

After the Snana ceremony, the deities are adorned with new dress known as the Elephant or the Hathi Vesha. The attires of Lord Jagannath and Balaram resemble that of an elephant while Goddess Subhadra wears a lotus attire or vesha. This is a special appearance of the Lord and his family for his devotees. With so many baths, the deities fall sick with fever and are not returned to the pedestal. There is a sick room inside the temple known as the Ratan Bedi where the deities are kept.

Deities stay inside the room for 15 days and during this time no public worship or darshan is allowed. This period is known as ‘Anasara’. To treat Lord and his family, they are offered Dasamula medicine mixed with cheese and fruits. Even the daily temple rites remain suspended during this period. The deity along with his family appears in front of public on the 16th day in his new form which is known as ‘Netrotsava’. Some devotees also visit the Alarnatha Temple nearby during the Anasara period with a belief that the Lord manifests himself as Alarnatha. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

How to Celebrate Raja Parba in Odisha

Odisha is a beautiful land of temples and ancient art and craft. Its festivals, traditions and culture are also quite unique. They draw a lot from their rich past and still have maintained many of the cultural traditions like celebrating the Raja Parba. All their festivals are known all around the world for the pomp and show because they are generally held on a large scale. Festivals are an integral part of the Odisha culture and people there live their lives in the perfect blend of modernity and traditional values. Odisha has a distinct flavor to its cultural celebrations which attracts lot of tourists.

The Raja Parba or festival is one such cultural celebration of Odisha. It is also known as Mithuna Sankranti which marks the beginning of the solar month of Mithuna; the start of the rainy season. The festival continues for 4 days and the second day actually signifies the beginning of the rain month. The festival normally begins from 14th of June when the entire Odisha welcomes the rainy season and celebrates the first brush of monsoon on their soil with flowers blooming everywhere. From here begins the year of productivity and hence people are happy and celebrate all over Odisha.

There is an interesting myth around this festival. It is believed by the Odisha people that Bhudevi, the divine wife of Lord Jagannath menstruates for 3 days and on the 4th day she goes through Vasumati Gadhua which means the ceremonial bath of the divine wife of Lord Jagannath and the mother of all. The period of worshipping Bhudevi begins from this day and the name Raja Parba has been derived from the term Rajaswala which denotes a menstruating woman. As a woman gains her fertility through menstruation, so also mother earth begins to realize her power of producing and this entire festival is a worshipping of fertility.

Celebrating Raja Festival In Odisha

Women do not indulge in pampering themselves with new dresses and jewelry. They refrain from doing any household chores during the 3 days. They mostly adorn themselves in traditional sarees and put Alatha on their feet to look more beautiful. Nobody walks barefoot on the ground and lots of delicacies are served like pithas which are sweet and tasty. Chakuli and podophitha are the hot favorites. Women also indulge in playing indoor games and girls spend time on swings with their friends. There is a folk song associated with Raja Parba which is known as Raja Geeta which eulogizes Mother Earth.

All 4 days of Raja Parba have different names- first day is Pahili Raja, second day is Mithuna Sankranti, and third day is Bhu Daaha while the fourth day is Vasumati Snan. The grinding stone representing the fertile earth is bathed by ladies on the 4h day after smearing it with turmeric paste, vermillion and decorating it with flowers. Mother Earth is offered all types of fresh seasonal fruits and the day before the celebration is known as Sajabaja and is a preparatory day when everything in the house is cleaned including the grinding stone.   

Though entire Odisha celebrates Raja Parba, yet Balasore, Puri and Cuttack celebrates it with great grandeur. Puri is already the most popular religious place in Odisha and any festival is observed with splendor there. No agricultural activity is carried on during the 3 days to provide rest to Mother Earth who will later produce crops and sustain life. Soon to be mothers and unmarried girls celebrate it with utmost dedication and abide by all the restrictions during the period. Women are only allowed to take bath on the first day and through the rest of the festival they must refrain. Dance and music is integral to Odisha festivals and here also yatra performances are arranged in Gotipua style. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

10 Traditional Silk Sarees That are Favourite of Rekha

Rekha is the face of Indian beauty clad in a gorgeous saree. Rekha wears heavy silk sarees with crimson red lipstick and heavy ornaments for every public appearance. Many actresses like Madhuri Dikshit and Vidya Balan try to copy this style but Rekha is the benchmark of Indian beauty who has the grace and elegance that no other heroines have. Here is the list of 10 traditional silk sarees that our favourite actress Rekha loves.

  1. Kanjivaram Silk Sarees- Kanjivaram is the most popular saree among all the actresses. We find Rekha wearing different shades of Kanjivaram sarees on different occasions. Whether it is the premiere of her movie Silsila in 1981 or wedding of Nitu Singh and Rishi Kapoor, she is always seen in one of her finest Kancjivaram silk saree. Very Recently, Rekha wore a dark maroon  Kanjivaram silk with golden border, for the screening of Ram-Leela. Undoubtedly, she looked every inch a diva.
  2. Kasavu Silk Sarees- Kasavu is the traditional white and golden silk saree. Rekha wore it for Super Star Awards 2011. With golden and pearl jewellery, wavy hair on her shoulder, kohl-rimmed eyes, and signature red lips, she was indeed the show stopper. But what made her distinct in the crowd was her disarming smile which never leaves her lips.
  3. Handloom Silk Sarees- No one can match the dressing and styling sense of this yesteryear beauty. If she dresses gorgeously for the formal occasions like award functions and weddings, she looked absolutely elegant and sophisticated in a white handloom silk saree which she wore at the book launch of Wendell Rodricks. She teamed it up with a golden three quarter sleeved blouse, minimal necklace and big jhumkas. Needless to say, she stole the show. 
    Indian Beauty Queen Rekha
  4. Benarasi Saree- Though she is mostly seen in south Indian silk sarees, but she looked equally stunning in a green Benarasi saree for 56th Filmfare Awards 2011. Golden jadau jewellery, lustrous wavy hair, small bindi and the red lips made her look like a Goddess.
  5. Silk Saree with Golden Zari Border- When she appeared in a red border white silk saree with a big bindi, quite unlikely on her part, for the Big Star Young Entertainers Awards 2012, onlookers almost skipped a heart beat, such is her charisma.
  6. Silk Work Saree- Rekha also loves silk sarees with heavy embellished work of sequins, silver zardousi, mirror and stones. She wore it for a social function and teamed it up with short sleeves designer blouse.
  7. Brocade Silk Saree- We all are aware of Rekha's love for heavy and gorgeous sarees and it is quite natural that brocade will make it's space in her cupboard as well. She wore an off white brocade silk saree for a promotional event. Flowers in the hair bun, long earrings and a heavy necklace completed her look.
  8. White Plain Shimmering Silk- Rekha sported a contemporary look with white plain silk saree with gold tint and sleeveless blouse and gold with pearl jewellery for Dada Saheb Phalke Award.
  9. Cream Designer Silk Saree- It is quite evident that Rekha either wears bright and gorgeous colours like red, golden, yellow, orange or chooses white or cream shades. Like she wore for the launch of a music album. Every one was mesmerized when she appeared in a cream butter silk saree with mirror, stone and embroidery work in border and pallu.
  10. Crushed Silk Saree- Quite contrary to her usual look of heavy traditional saree, jewellery, and hair do, Rekha appeared for a promotional event in a plain white crushed silk saree, sleeveless blouse, hair tightly done in a high ponytail and costume jewellery. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Where you will find cheapest Indian Handloom and Handicraft products outside India?

Indian handicrafts and handloom items have a huge market abroad. NRIs as well as foreigners value these products in high esteem and are often open to offer any price to acquire them for their living room or closet. Kanjivaram or Benarasi silk sarees are finest examples of Indian handloom product while pattachitra of Orissa or antiques from different part of India are always high on demand. These artefacts are always imported from different sources and contribute a good portion in our foreign revenue. With more and more people moving abroad and thus enhancing the exposure for these products more than ever before, question arises where you can find cheapest Indian handloom and handicraft products outside India.
In the year 2014, proposal was given about opening emporiums in different parts of the world to make Indian handloom and handicraft products easily available in foreign countries as well. However, still a lot has to be done in this aspect. Meanwhile there is a solution which can help the interested clients get these fine pieces of art at a reasonable price sans the conveyance cost and the solution is online shopping. There are several government aided and privately owned websites where you can order your favourite Indian products. You can order wooden sofa with mirror work cushion covers in silk to add Indian flavour to your sitting room. Terracotta figurines, brass wall pieces, silver utensils and jewelleries, bamboo and cane products and the list can go on which can add that zing to your abode.

Hand Crafted Patachitra Sarees Available Online

No matter where an Indian is based, at the time of wedding they love to flaunt their ethnic traditions. It is during these occasions, demand for Indian handloom and handicraft products rises. Benarasi saree or lehenga for the bride, sherwani or dhoti for the groom, jewelleries for everyone becomes the talk of the town. Since it is not possible to buy these things from there and even if they are available, they cost a fortune, you can go online. You can choose the currency in which you want to pay and get it delivered at your door steps. You may be charged a little more for the shipping cost, but you can rest assured of the quality of these products.
Not only Indians, people from foreign countries love Indian artwork. Metal boxes with striking designs are a favourite among them for their aesthetic and as well as utility value. Metals used for these boxes are iron, brass, copper, aluminium, tin and so on. Stone made idols and figures of Indian gods and goddesses are popular decorative items. All these are easily available over internet. If you can choose a right time, then you can even bag a good offer where your expense is much less than you are expected to pay. Subscribe to the site and you will get newsletters to know more about the inventory, deals and other lucrative offers. Thanks to globalisation, you can get everything you need from the global village with just a few clicks here and there.

It is true that you can get Indian clothes in foreign land, but for that regular supply of authentic Indian handloom for a cheaper price, you still have to wait for little longer till the red tapes are untangled. And in the meantime, help yourself with the websites. Their products are genuine. Often these sites work directly with the artisans. So when you do business with them, your purchase helps them directly. What more can be of fulfilling experience if not this? So, if you want Indian handloom and handicraft products, go online and satiate your desire to own these fine art pieces.