Friday, April 13, 2007

A Queen Visits Her Lord.

A thousand policemen took over the security arrangements at the temple premises. The devotees who had come to worship were prevented from entering the temple grounds. Even the priests, all of them except a boy priest, were made to leave the place.

All these because the 51-year-old Lilabati Pattamahadei, Queen of Puri was visiting the famous 12th century Lord Jagannath Temple at Puri.

Lord Jagannath Temple, Puri
Photo acknowledgement: Tourism Department.

She came in a palanquin carried by the palace staff. The King, in traditional dress accompanied her in another palanquin. They were escorted by representatives from twenty-two royal families, royal attendants, martial arts performers and flag procession. The spectacle was watched by a huge crowd.

It was no ordinary visit. The ritual, which is actually a private one, is known as ‘Gahan Bijie’. The King was presented with the keys to all the temple chambers and the Queen entered the empty shrine in the company of the boy priest and two married Brahmin women. She could spend as much time there as she liked and no force would disturb her. But only once in her lifetime. Never again would the present Queen perform a ‘Ghan Bijie’. The last one was forty-one years back, by the previous Queen.

This took place on April 8, 2007.

There is no kingdom now. But the King is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Jagannath. The tradition is twelve centuries old and no one is expected to question it. Some rationalists did protest against the rite, and to them the King, a former student of St. Stephen’s, Delhi, had this to say (according to The Hindu), “If any change has to be brought about, the persons who are part of the culture and tradition can initiate the reform. But someone who is not part of the culture cannot have any say in this.” The ritual has the sanctity of the Jagannath Temple Act and the Record of Rights as well.

At the end of the day, the crowd of “at least” 50,000 people who came to see the ceremony, had only one regret. Because the Queen had arrived with the palanquin curtains drawn, they could not get a glimpse of her face!


(Based on media reports.)

Also see: The last of the Travancore Maharajas


katrina said...

Puri, on the east coast of India, in the state of Orissa is a hoary pilgrimage center,

enshrining Jagannath, in a colossal temple. Puri is well connected by rail and road with

Calcutta and with Bhubaneshwar. Puri is an ancient shrine, enshrining Krishna -

Jagannath in the form of a wooden image. Also enshrined are wooden images of

Balabhadra (Balarama) and Subhadra brother and sister of Krishna respectively.
Please Visit For More Detail

Ashvin said...

Warms the cockles of the heart of an ardent royalist