Puri: A day after having a lavish bath using 108 pitchers of water, the deities-Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath, Wednesday remained indoors in their temple as by tradition they fall `sick’ and remain secluded for a fortnight.
Only ‘daitapati’ servitors are allowed inside the temples where the Lords rest after falling ill, said Bhaskar Mishra, a researcher in Jagannath culture.
Mishra said the deities were kept in isolation at the sick room called “Anasar Ghar” . They are being treated with herbs, flower and root extracts on instructions of the Raj Vaidya, the palace auyrvedic doctor . They are treated just as human beings would be when ill, he said.
During the “Anasar Ghar” stay, the Daitapati servitors undertake secret rituals and help the deities to rejuvenate before the annual Ratha Jatra. “In secret rituals, we apply Phuluri Tela (sesame oil with flower and herb extracts) provided by Bada Odia Mutt. The Lords also undergo the Panchakarma treatment to look fresh,” one of the servitors said.
The deities are first given medicines to lower the temperature of the body and then the other parts of the ‘Sree Anga’ (sacred body) are treated with herbal oil.
The deities during the period also do not get normal ‘Prasad” and are offered only fruits, he said adding that some of the servitors also massage the Lords.
During the 14-days Anasar, the devotees are requested to pray before the `Pattachitra’ (palm leaf) Painting of the trinity. The devotees are also told to visit Lord Alarnath, located in the Puri district and receive his blessings.
During Anasara period, the door of Patitapabana, the representative image of Lord Jagannath worshipped at the Simha Dwara (Lion’s Gate of the temple), is also closed.
Mishra said that the deities would recover from sickness, a day before Rath Jatra on the occasion of `Naba Jaubana Darshan’ (New Youth Appearance) to appear afresh before devotees.