Lingaraj Temple – Daily Rituals

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Daily Rituals
The daily rituals of Lord Lingaraj start early in the morning and continue till late evening. The temple gates are thrown open early in the morning between 5.30 a.m and 6 a.m. The door is opened by the functionary called Pharaka who has the key. The opening takes places in presence of a representative of Pancayat and the Palia Badu. The Sevaka, i.e., the Palia Badu enters the temple with a Kalasa of water and sprinkles the water on all the Sivalingas inside the temple. Then the sanctum door is opened and a servant called Akhanda now performs the Mangala Arati or auspicious waving of light in honor of Lord Lingaraj. The deity wakes up from his sleep: this ceremony is called Pahuda Bhanga.Thereafter, the Palia Badu removes the bilva leaves, flowers, etc. placed on the llinga in the previous night.The ceremony of the washing of teeth is performed with a twig and after being bathed, the Lord is offered flowers and bilva leaf,etc. Then Lord Lingaraja is ready for public Darsana. This gathering of devotees wanting to have a view of the lord is called Sahana Mela. Generally it continues from 7.30 a.m. to 12 noon. On special occasions, the sanctum remains open for a much longer period.After Sahana Mela, a purificatory ceremony or Mahasnana takes place. The Palia Badu bathes the deity and washers the linga pitha with water. Then, panchamrta, consisting of milk, honey, curd, butter and guda(jaggery), is poured on the linga for purifications. Thereafter, the linga is dressed and decorated with ornaments, flowers,etc. Lord Lingaraj is offered bhoga eight times daily and this includes five avakasas and three dhupas. These comprise the followings:

  1. Bala dhupa or vala ballava
  2. sakala dhupa
  3. Bhoga- Mandapa Dhupa or Chatrabhoga
  4. Virakisore ballava
  5. Dvipahara dhupa or madhyahna dhupa
  6. Teraphita
  7. sandhya dhupa
  8. Bada singhara

The first food offering or breakfast of the lord is called bala ballava or bala dhupa. The offering includes items such as kora, khai, curd,etc. this offering is conducted by the brahmana sevaka, called panti badu. After this dhupa the sanctum is cleaned with water by the palia badu. This is preceded by surya puja in the minor shrine of the sun god in the south-east corner. The dvarapala puja is also a part of the daily ritual.

The first important bhoga called sakala dhupa or the morning meal is offered to the lord in the sanctum. The bhoga consists of rice, khecudi, green leafy vegetables ,puli, hamsakeli, enduri (cake), kanti and other items. The sakal dhupa is performed with the co-operation of various sevakas, such as panda, patri, hadapa nayak, bhitar khuntia, anti vadu, gara badu, etc. The panti badu decorates the floor with powdered rice; bhitara khuntia stands as the guard at the gate; hadapa nayak provides water and arecanut; gara badu provides the wooden seat, water and flowers; patri places the required sixteen upacaras at the disposal of the panda bhranmana, who conducts the actual offering.During the offering ceremony various musical instruments are played by he sevakas, such as ghantua,kahalia and others. Two sevakas hold white umbrella and black umbrella in honor of the deity near the sanctum door.

After the sakala dhupa is over, there comes the alati ceremony (ceremony of waving light.).The Alati ceremony of Lingaraja is of various types. Such as karpura alati, pithau alati.patri alati, etc. The ceremonial waving of light is conducted in a rhythmic motion in front of the deity. The objects used for this purpose are camphor,clarified butter and rice paste fixed with lighted sticks. Sometimes the seven lighted wicks are used in the Alati.
There is another bhoga known as chatrabhoga which is offered in the bhoga- mandapa. This bhoga, meant for sale among the pilgrims, includes huge quantity of food items, such as rice, dal, curry, etc. After this bhoga is over, the sanctum is purified and is kept open for the devotees.

There is a view that the flood offering to sivalinga is not to be accepted, but being regarded as Hari-Hari, offering to Lingaraja is accepted by the gods, asuras and men irrespective of sectarian differences among the saiva and vaisnavas. It has been proclaimed that offering to a linga is not acceptable except the offering to Tribhuvanesvara.
There is another offering to the lord before the mid-day meal which is known as Virakishore ballav dhupa. The panda, patri, gara badu and brahmanasa should be present at the time of offering. The food comprises sweetmeat preparations, such kakara, tripuri, etc.

The mid-day meal called Dvipahara dhupa or Maghymha dhupa is offered in earthen pots to the deity. the practice was in vogue by the 13th century. Inscription of Anangabhimadeva III (ad 1211-1238) refers to offering or earthen pots of cooked food daily to the deity. The earthen pot was called Atika, which indicates that bhoga was offered to the deity in the earthen pots. Y et another inscription of the 13th century refers to nirmalya prepared from tandula or rice.By the 13th century land endowments have been made for the food offering (naivedya) to the deity Krttivasa.The offering consists of cooked food. such as rice, dal, curry, etc,. The cooking is done in the kitchen complex of the temple. After offering to the lord a portion of the bhoga is presented to goddess Parvati in her temple.

After the mid-day meal,the mahasana takes place, the door is closed and the deity takes rest (pahada). After this, the teraphala offering consisting of cake,etc. is served to the deity and temple is once again opened for pilgrims. The door is then closed again for themed-day rest of the lord.

At about 7p.m the temple door is thrown open for the performance of evening rituals,Known as sandhya alati. During this time the sanctum door is opened fro public view of the lord. This time another light-meal offering,called sandhya dhupa, is offered by the sevakas,the second food offering called sandhya dhupa. Is conducted at around 8.30 p.m .In the sandhya dhupa offering several items.sch as ladu,khaja,arisa pitha, kharjura, etc. are offered to the lord lingaraja.After this, public darshana is arranged for the devotees for a brief period.

The badasinghara ceremony is conducted before the midnight. The badashingara offering includes items such as dahipakhal (rice mixed with curd). bhaja, sakara, khata. etc. The ritual consists of the worship of the metal image of pancavakra mahadeva and offering of puspanjali (offered of flowers) in his honor.After this final ceremony is over, the temple doors are closed around midnight.

The cycle of daily rites, as regards the local terminology and timings, are quite similar to those of the jagannatha temple at puri.

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