Vesas of Deities
Source : Jagannath Puri Book Published by SJTA Pictorial Presentation of Bhesas of Deities Best viewed in IE
The word 'Vesa' (in Sanskrit as also in Oriya) means, dress. It is a common feature with all the temples that deities are dressed and decorated daily. On special occasions the deities are also dressed and decorated in suitable manner. The same is also . the case with the deities in the Puri temple. There are particular persons belonging to the temple services who know the traditional ways of dress and decoration. Flowers, tender leaves, silken fabrics, golden ornaments etc. constitute the materials with which the deities are dressed. Sandal wood paste, musk, camphor etc. are also adequately used. Out of the several dresses, mention may here be made of only a few.
Candana Vesa: The word 'Candana' means sandal wood, the sweet-scented paste of which is applied to the body of the deities in the months of Vaisakha and Jyestha, for long 42 days of Candana Yatra. Hati Vesa: In Snana Yatra Jagannatha is dressed like Ganesa, who bears the head of an elephant (Hati).
Nava Youvana Vesa: Immediately after the day of Snana Purnima the deities remain unseen for 15 days. Thereafter, on the eve of Ratha Yatra they are gorgeously dressed and pay darsan to the visitors. They put on very charming robes and look like persons at the commencement of their youth. (Nava Youvana).
Suna Vesa: In the month of Asadha, when the deities are brought back to the main gate of the temple and are still in their respective chariots, the Suna Vesa (decoration with golden ornaments) takes place.
Citalagi Vesa: The word 'Cita' literally means the decoration of the forehead with special materials like sandal paste, musk and gorachana etc. But in Puri three magnificient citas (ornaments of the forehead) made of gold, diamond, saphire and emerald are put on the the three principal deities on the Amavasya day of Sravana. Connected with this, is the decoration of Rahu Rekha. It is an ornament of the head. This is removed from the head of the deities on the day of Snana Purnima and is again put in the month of Sravana.
Vana Bhoji Vesa: Since Jagannatha has been identified with Krisna, incidents connected with the life of the latter have been inseparably associated with Jagannatha. Krisna used to go to the forests with his companions, who were decorating him with the tendrils of the creepers, flowers and tender leaves of different colours. Keeping this incident in view, Jagannatha is dressed in the month of Bhadra in the befitting manner.
Kaliyadalana Vesa: In the story of Krisna, Kaliya, the venomous viper, living on the banks of Yamuna was a source of great danger to the people and Krisna had killed it. To remind this incident in the month of Bhadra this Vesa takes place. The actual scene of killing the demonlike snake is dramatised in the sacred tank of Markanda.
Pralambasura Vadha Vesa:A demon, Pralamba by name, was killed by Balarama, the elder brother of Krisna. So Balarama wears this Vesa in Bhadra. 9. Krisna Balarama Vesa: The deep impact of the Krisna cult in Orissa is perhaps responsible for this Vesa. It takes place in the month of Bhadra. As is clear from the name itself, Jagannatha is dressed like Krisna and Balabhadra like Balarama. Vamana Vesa: In the month of Bhadra, Jagannatha is dressed like Vamana incarnation of Visnu. Visnu had appeared in the form of a Vamana (a dwarf) and through his ingenuity, outwitted the demon king Bali and pushed him down to the inferno with his foot.
Raja Vesa: The word Raj a means a 'king'. Hence this Vesa denotes the dress of a sovereign king. Jagannatha was regarded as the king of Orissa since the rule of Ganga dynasty and this Vesa of Jagannatha continues from those days four times in a year.