Daily Service at Lingaraja Temple

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.

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