Puri Beach Festival, Orissa: Do Not Miss it….!

Puri Beach Festival is celebrated every year in the month of November at Puri, Orissa. It has gained enough popularity in the recent years as tourists from all over India and globally during the festival, making it a perfect ambiance and opportunity for the, tourist and travelers visitors to interact with the local Orissa people and know about their culture.

Starting from Fashion shows, exhibitions, cultural programs, delicious cuisine all form a part of this colorful festival, there are many interactive, attractive and entertaining events organized here for the tourist and visitors at Puri during the festivals.

Puri Beach Festival has always been on epitome on the tourism prospects. The festival is held in the month of November, this festival is an annual 5 day Puri beach festival is held 23rd-27th November every year packed with engaging activities and events for the tourists to blend in the culture and traditions all colorful and majestic of Incredible Orissa.

While on a visit to Orissa, the Beach Festival is the most enchanting experience of all. Starting from the cultural performances to beach fun, Puri beach festival offers for every age group. The venue of the festival is Puri Beach, it is a pilgrimage in itself at Lord Jagannath Dham and a perfect vacation and holiday destination.

Activities held during the Puri Beach Festival are

  • Cultural events, classical and folk dance performances, sand sculptures, handicrafts and food festivals to rock concerts, DJs, On The Beach Parties; Puri Beach Festival has established it as an international festival.
  • Every day at the festival tourist and visitors can listening rock music, tapping feet on classical and folk tunes, enjoying dance performances, shopping ethnic and traditional handicrafts, enjoying the beach and to have night-long fun on beach.

The credit for conducting the wonderful Puri Beach Festival goes to the following star co-sponsors…

  • Hotel and Restaurant Association of Orissa (HRAO).
  • Ministry of Tourism, Government of India
  • The Department of Tourism, Government of Orissa
  • Development Commissioner of Handicrafts and
  • The Eastern Zonal Cultural Center; Calcutta.

In 2010, The Annual “16th Puri Beach Festival” is held 23rd – 27th November.

Toshali Sand, Puri has made exclusive arrangement for their Guest, Tourist, Travellers, Locals, Visitors at Balighai Beach, Puri.. Reservation and Booking for the Puri Beach Festival can be made at http://bit.ly/aKlamj .. You can also ask your Travel Consultant Metu at metu@toshali,in

Durga Puja and Dushera : A Festive Vacation at Puri, India

“Yaa Devii Sarvabhuuteshhu Maatrirupena Sansthitah
Yaa Devii Sarvabhuuteshhu Shaktirupena Sansthitah
Yaa Devii Sarvabhuuteshhu Shaantirupena Sansthitah
Namastasyaih Namastasyaih Namastasyaih Namo Namah”

It means… Goddess Durga is omnipresent. She is the personification of Universal Mother. She is a Mother, who is present everywhere and who is embodiment of power and energy. Great mother, who is present everywhere and who is embodiment of Peace. I bow to that mother, I bow to Mother Durga, I bow to Shakti.

Lord Rama prayed to Devi Chandika seeking victory over Ravana. One blue lotus short he offered his eye to please the Goddess. In Mahabharata Pandavas ended their year of anonymity on Dussehra. According to the Puranas, King Suratha worshipped Durga in the spring.

Durga’s ten hands represent ten directions. Her three eyes represents – left eye desire (the moon), right eye represents action (the sun), and the central eye knowledge (fire).

Her weapons are symbolic too:

•       She rides the lion, representative of power, will and determination.

•       Conch symbolizes the ‘Om’.

•       Bow and arrows represent energy.

•       Thunderbolt signifies firmness.

•       Lotus symbolizes certainty of success but not finality.

•       “Sudarshan-Chakra” of Lord Vishnu signifies that the entire world is subservient to her will.

•       Sword symbolizes knowledge.

•       Trident or “trishul” is symbol of three cardinal qualities – Satva (inactivity), Rajas (activity) and Tamas (non-activity).

The rendition of Shri Chandika- in Mahalaya, reveals the coming of this primeval, divine mother “Yah Devi Sharbabhutesu…… Matri Rupini Samasthita.

In Orissa and Bengal Mother Durga is the married daughter, on an annual visit to her father’s place, with children. The puja in its present form started by Raja Nabakrishna Deb of the Shobhabazar Rajbari of Kolkata in honor of Lord Clive in 1757. Clive wished to pay thanks for his victory in the Battle of Plassey and the only church in Calcutta was destroyed by Siraj-ud-Daulah :). With changing times the pujas have become community affairs.

In Orissa and Bengal, Durga Puja is the principal festival. People come home on vacations. On Vijaya Dashami, which coincides with Dusserah the idols are taken out for ceremonial immersion. Before she leaves maidens and housewives gives her a sendoff with sweets and betel leaves and nuts. Along with the sendoff there is also an entreaty to return early the next year.

As per Markandeya Purana Chedi King Suratha started Durga Puja around 300 BCE. The Chedi dynasty belonged to Kalinga (modern Orissa). A sculpture in the Jagannath temple also shows the Goddess being in the same pedestal along with Lord Jagannath and a king kneeling before them. The present form of worship started during the reign of Ganga King Chodaganga Dev in the 11th century at Puri. Sometimes around 1512 (some say 1517, others 1505) Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had come to Cuttack during the reign of emperor Gajapati Pratap Rudra Dev. He started Durga puja at Binod Bihari temple, now known as Balu Bazar.

The first recorded Sarbojonin Durga Puja in Orissa dates back to 1832 in the Kazi Bazaar area of Cuttack. The Kar family of Balasore started Durga Puja in 1852. The Puja is celebrated in two different ways. In Shakti peethas (temples) it is observed with strict rituals laid down by the scriptures for 10 or 16 days known as Shodasa Upachara or Shohala dinatmaka. It starts 7 days before mahalaya called as mulastami and ends on Vijaya Dashami. In communal puja mandaps rituals are followed on a lesser scale.

A pandal in Oriya is called “Medho”. The most expensive installation was the ChaandiMerrha (Silver plated) of Choudhuri Bajaar, Cuttack. These days it is all gold plated, so the new name “Suna Medho” (Suna=Gold). The Durga Puja festivities are also prominent in Maa Katak Chandi Temple. She is the presiding deity of Cuttack. People believe her to be ‘The Living Goddess’.

Puri wears a festive look during the Durga Pujas and Dushera. Roads are illuminated and large pandals are extensively decorated. On Panchami preparations arealmost over. The Goddess is established in the mandap on Sasthi. Asper mythology the final stages of the battle was fought during Ashtamiand Navami. Ritual worship is done. It is nothing sort of ecstacy. Everyone is dressed in new dresses, fineries. Community Pujas see huge crowds. Cultural programmes are dished out. The earthen idol of Mahishamardini Durga is known as Gosani and the Dussehra fesival is known as Gosani Yatra. The co-worship of Mahisamardini Durga with Lord Jagannath is prevalent from 11th century, in Puri. Gosanis are aspects of Durga during her battle with mahisasura and have their origins in the folk culture. On the following day of Dusshera the Goshanis from all the sahis (streets) come together in procession in front of Shree  Jagannath Temple to pay tribute to lord Jagannath. This is known as ‘Bhasani Yatra’. Huge crowd gather to celebrate Bhasanai Yatra. In late night the idols are taken for immersion. Puri witnesses an unique scene of over 150 idols lined up for immersion. Is this the largest known congregation of Durga idols anywhere? The world famous sand artist Sudarshan Pattanaik creates his own idol of sand in the Puri beach every year.

Durga Pujas means festive holidays, vacation and a time to travel. Other than the summer vacations this is the longest vacation in the region. People from Bengal, Bihar, and Jharkhand have visited Puri for millennia.  The abode of Lord Jagannath is thronged with visitors throughout the year and other than the Rath Yatra the number is highest during the Durga Pujas. Puri is rediscovering itself a new with plush new resorts and inns and added modern comfort and amenities for visitors, tourist and guests.

In Western India, especially Gujarat, the navaratras see performanceof Garba and Dandiya. Women dressed in traditionally, dance around an earthen pot with a lamp inside. The pot symbolises the womb – “Garba” and the lamp inside – life. In Dandia men and women participate in pairs.

In Northern India navratras sees the “Ramlila” – a traditional rendition of the Ramayana. Dusshera sees burning effigies of Ravana,
Kumbhaklaran and Meghnad symbolizing the triumph of good over evil.

During Dusshera celebration of Mysore Devi Chamundi, the presiding family deity of the Maharaja of Mysore is taken in a grand procession to the hilltop temple.

Special Trains for Durga Puja 2010 between Puri and Howrah New Delhi and rest of India. To clear the extra rush of passengers during Durga Puja 2010, Indian Railways will run two pairs of weekly Puja special trains between Puri and Howrah. These special trains will start running on 7th September 2010 and will end on 29th December 2010.

Durga Puja itinerary followed with Laxmi Puja as per Kohinoor Panjika of Orissa  of 2010-11.

Durga Puja 2010

In 2010 Durga Puja festival will be celebrated from October 8th to -18th’ 2010. Toshali Sands welcomes all to be the part of Durga Puja Festival experiencing, exclusive arrangement has been done for the guest to witness and be the part of the festival. For Durga Puja Package Reservation click on http://bit.ly/biSkc6 For more details write to metu@toshali.in

If you feel, we have missed any information that is helpful for your friends visiting this blog, do post. We would be glad to receive your comments and conversation.

Why Toshali Sands is The Place for Next Corporate Meet !

30 acres of lush greenery, beautifully landscaped, on the stunning Konark marine drive Toshali sands, the ethnic village resort was designed and conceived to be an ideal environment in complete harmony with the habitat. We have one of the country’s most comprehensive conference and convention Centre, 103 rooms, health spa, the Phulpatna restaurant with its multi cuisine spread. 

Toshali Sands Collage

Toshali Sands, has the largest conference centre in Orissa ” now its is called ODISHA”, located in the Temple city, Puri, the abode of Lord Jagannath. Its unique location, surrounded by the sea, river, reserve forest and acres of greenery, makes Toshali an ideal conference destination with leisure. We strove hard to provide a set up with facilities equivalent to any five star resort hotel.

Conference Facility at Toshali Sands

Indraprastha is our large conference hall that can accommodate between 44 to 220 plus depending on seating arrangements. Panchayat Conference hall can accommodate upto 200. And Mantrana Conference hall – the smallest can accomodate upto 100 people. We offer you Audio – Visual facilities, use/hire of PCs and printers, Secretarial Services, Telephone, Fax, E-mail & other matters of communication, providing materials for writing, etc.

Toshali Sands Conference Facility

We’ve thought of everything to create the perfect atmosphere. Your dedicated conference coordinator will act as your personal point or contact for all arrangements we offer a lighter buffet lunch and breakfast, as well as tradition fare. Should your event call for themed Gala dinner, bar-be-que, or a special menu of any kind, you’ll find the hotel welcomes your suggestions and requests.

Today’s conference organizers and training providers recognize the great potential of time outside the seminar room. At Toshali Sands, we have taken care to ensure that we offer the best strange of in-house and external activities to complement to your conference programme. So you can relax individually in the swimming pool, sauna, hi-tech gym or exercise room etc.

Toshali Sands_ Conference undergoing

We can help you include team-building activities in your schedule with combat or adventure games. Through Toshali Sands, you also have access to a wide range of adventure activities designed to challenge and motivate, from forest trekking, beach walk, river crossing and lots more. You will find your Toshali Sands, conference co-ordinator more than happy to organise special events for whole conference, for a small VIP group, or as individual incentives. We can even arrange an workshop with the world renowned sand sculptor Sudarshan Patnaik for you. We are also in the process of identifying a cycling trek through the banks of the serene Nuanai, the reserve sanctuary and who knows in seasons maybe para-sailing and kite boarding too. Toshali Sands depends on YOU for the inputs and ideas. We are what you want us to be.

So do write in.

Toshali Sands Coconut trees

To Know and book the conference venue for your Conference, Workshops, Seminars, Boardmeetings, Sales Meeting, AGM, Product Launch, Reseller, Distributor  & Dealer meeting, Corporate Event Management, etc. Please contact our conference manager or simply mail your query at metu@toshali.in ; Facebook Photo Walk -Through of Toshali Sands Resort, Puri http://bit.ly/b2afDi

Beauty of Monsoon at Puri Sea Beach “Toshali Sands”

 

Scorched by the summer heat, I lie withered almost defeated
Fervently, silently awaiting, Deliverance by your Healing cooling caresses
That could ignite me….

Quote by Taara Nandita

If it had words such would have been the sea shore’s lament. By June the weather is typically that of a tropical summer, very hot and humid. The parched lands wait for the monsoon rains. By mid July the monsoons arrive  low, dark clouds move over from the sea, the wind suddenly stops and there is complete silence – then with a loud thunder clap it literally pours. It seems that the heavy deluge will wash away all the dust and heat of the summer with it. It cools the environs appreciably. Small rivulets make their way through the beach to the sea. Everywhere you look there is greenery, parched vegetation is replenished, new plants spring up, all around it looks greener than ever before.

Toshali Sands Cottage

Traditionally monsoon was the off season for tourists. Monsoon tours started with Goa, it gives you a unique, personal perspective of a place otherwise teeming with tourists. The monsoon mood of a beach resort is guided by the mood of the sea. The Arabian Sea is a much calmer compatriot of the Bay of Bengal. This is a turbulent sea. The beauty of it – especially during the monsoons can be both breathtaking and awesome at Balighai Beach, Puri.  

Toshali Sands Collage

 Toshali Sands looks bedecked in emerald. It’s a riot of greens. Every leaf, every blade of grass glimmers. It is instantly refreshing. The otherwise placid Nuanai river is full to the brim. The nearby sanctuary is a riot of colours. In the eastern parts of India it can literally rain for days. The gray, looming sky matches with the slate gray of the sea, the white of the breaking surf adds to the allure. Looking at a foaming raging sea can be somewhat intimidating but it is beautiful, uniquely beautiful. You can rest assured that one single look and you’ll be hooked.  

Balighai Beach Puri Balighai Beach, Puri

Life in Toshali Sands goes on as usual, a little relaxed. There are a lot of special offers for the Monsoons. This is the traditional rice planting season. While on a trip to a nearby village of artisans, if you wish you can see traditional farming, still practiced in most parts of India. So if you have heard someone asking tourists to give beaches a miss during the rains don’t listen, just go ahead, carry a big umbrella and head for an one of a kind experience at ethnic village resort “Toshali Sands.

Post your monsoon exprience. To book your exclusive Monsoon Package, Honeymoon Package, Wedding Package… post a comment or contact your travel consultant at Toshali Sands “metu@toshali.in

Website : www.toshalisands.com

Golden Attire – Suna Besha of Lord Sree Jagannath, Puri dham

The Suna bhesa or Bada Tadau bhesa or Raja bhesa happens the day after the return of the Lords from Gundicha. On the day of Bada Ekadasi, the 11th day of the bright fortnight in Asadha. The deities, on their chariots itself don the golden attire or the suna besa, with hands, arms and crown made of solid gold. They are decorated with gold diadems, hands and feet made of gold. Lord Jagannath holds a gold Chakra (Disc) in his right hand and Silver Sankha (Conch) in his left hand. Lord Balabhadra holds a gold Hala (plough) in his left hand and a golden Gada (mace) in his right hand. The dress reportedly weighs one ton. They are also offered sweet drinks, adhara pana, on huge cylindrical earthen pots reaching up to their lips. They are taken down from the chariots in a ritual descent to enter the temple. 

Golden attire – Suna Besha of Lord Sree Jagannath, Puri Dham Orissa

Other than the Rath Yatra, the Lord Sree Jagannath is dressed in this regal attire on festivals like Dasahara, Kartika Purnima and Pousa Purnima (Pushyabhiseka Besha).

After this the very human and amusing feud takes place between the Lord and Goddess Laxmi in the main gate of SreeMandir, Puri dham. Ultimately the humility of the Lord prevails and he is allowed entrance to his abode. There is great ullulation and fanfare and in his stately ‘Pahundi’ style the Lord returns to his seat – marking an end to the grand spectacle of Rath Yatra. It is said that a ardshan of the Lords Sree Jagannath in “Suna Bhesa” frees one from the cycle of rebirth.

This year you can see the Lords in their golden attire, popularly known as Suna Bhesa on July 22 and after the symbolic Laxmi-Narayan feud the Lords will enter SreeMandir on July 23’ 2010 bringing to an end the grand festival of Rath Yatra – The Car Festival.

To take part in the conclusive part of ‘Rath Yatra” – The “Suna Bhesa” Festival on 22nd July 19, 2010, Toshali Sands, Puri has exclusive arrangement to take you on visit to the “Sree Mandir” Bada Danda  – The Lord Jagannath Temple, Puri Orissa ‘now called as Odisha”. To Know more, leave your comment or contact travel desk ‘metu@toshali.in, we will get back to you.

I would be glad to hear more about the Holy Ritual Costume or Attires or Bhesas, please post if you feel any information’s in the blog is missing. And would be gald to have you as their guest at Toshali Sands, Puri

I trust you enjoyed this post, I would appreciate, if you share it on Twitter, Facebook, Orkut and other Social Networking sites. 

Bahuda Yatra – The Return Festival of Lord Sree Jagannath, Puri Rath Yatra

King Indradumnya asked the Lord to keep him issuless, as then nobody will be able to claim the Jagannath temple as his own. The Lord agreed but queen Gundicha was aghast – with no earthly heirs she took the Lord to be her son and extracted a promise that he will visit his Gundicha home for a week every year. According to some treatises of Mahabharata Subhadra, wanted to visit Dwarka, her parent’s home, and her brothers took her back to Dwarka on this day. Thus, The Chariot Festival or The Car Festival or popularly called as Rath Yatra is a commemoration of that visit.

Another legend says, the festival has its foundation in the residents of Vrindavan bringing back their Lords, Krishna, Balaram and Lady Subhadra from Kurukshetra.

The Bhagavad Purana says that it was on this day that Krishna and Balarama went to Mathura to participate in a wrestling competition, at Kansa’s invitation. When the brothers were ready to leave for Mathura, the Gopis and Gopals – blocked their way and relented only when the Lord consoled them and allayed their fears. The Festival commemorates this overwhelming separation.

On the day of Rath Yatra the chariots of Lady Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra reach directly the Gundicha temple, the chariot of Lord Jagannath stops at his Mausima (Aunt’s) Goddess Ardhamsini temple. Here the Lord is offered with Poda Pitha then the chariot proceeds towards the Gundicha Temple. After reaching the Gundicha Temple the Lords receive all the routine Rituals same as they used to receive in the main temple.

The Lords reach the Gundicha temple. There, in their Garden House, Adapa Mandapa, also known as their place of birth, the deities stay for seven days. On the ninth day of the festival, Bahuda Jatra, the grand return journey takes place. On the way back they stop for a short while and partake of poda pitha (sweet reciepie), a type of cake made of rice, lentils, jaggery and coconut, offered by their aunt. On reaching back the main temple, the deities, on their chariots, don the golden attire or the suna besa, with hands, arms and crown made of solid gold. They are also offered sweet drinks, adhara pana, on huge cylindrical earthen pots reaching up to their lips. They are taken down from the chariots in a ritual descent to enter the temple.

The Lord does not have it easy however – Goddess Laxmi, angry at the Lord having left her alone refuses him entry into the temple. Her anger, jealousy and frustration is articulated by her companions, represented by a group of servitors from inside. Another group representing Lord Jagannatha respond with entreaties and endearments. The Lord has to answer 9 questiones posed by the Goddess. In the answer, equality between all devotees and social status and freedom of ladies are recognised by the Lord. After re-enacting this drama of daily domestic tiffs of mere mortals, the celestial couple finally make up.

The Lord uses Oriya in his cajoling of Goddess Laxmi – there are many versions but it basically starts and end this way:

Who are you? (Kia aschi)

 I’m Ramanatha Nathoramayah (husband of Rama or Maya)

But why should Maya’s husband come to see Laxmi ?

Who is Laxmi to Him ?

The Lord says, “Laxmi is my life, she is in my heart”


If Laxmi was in His heart, why should He come searching for her here. The lord wonders – Where is the cool touch of the sea, the liquid lucidity of the looks of Payodhitanaya in her words.

 According to some versions Lord Balabhadra or Borthakur intervenes:

 “Hey Bhadre ! if my brother, Jagannatha is a wrongdoer for lapses, if any, I too am not free from your accusation. Our darling Subhadra accompanied us because of the candid wish of both the brothers and not of Jagannatha alone. Subhadra cannot remain without her brothers. And so, you were left in the temple for the genuine reason best known to you.

 After all, you are the divine proprietress of the grand temple. Mind not my brother’s mistake, if any. Now open the door and let my brother enter the sanctum of the temple.”

 The lady ‘Goddess Lakshmi’ gives in and finally the Lord moves into his own house house i.e in devotion called as Sree Mandir – Sree Lord Jagannath Temple, Puri dham.

In the answer, equality between all devotees and social status and freedom of ladies are recognised by the Lord. After re-enacting this drama of daily domestic tiffs of mere mortals, the celestial couple finally make up.

 And thus ends with “Bahuda Yatra or Bahuda Jatra” – one of the inseperable part of Sree Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra.

This year the return journey or Bahuda Yatra or Bahuda Jatra or Ulto Rath Yatra is celebrated on July 21’ 2010. Then you can witness the Lords in their Golden Attire – Suna Bhesa ritual on July 22 on Bada Danda, Puri and after the symbolic Laxmi-Narayan feud, the deities “Lord Jagannath, Goddess Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra  will enter SreeMandir on July 23’ 2010 bringing to an end the grand festival of Rath yatra – The Car festival

 Toshali Sands, Puri has exclusive arrangement to take you to be the part of  The Lord Jagannath Temple “Bahuda Yatra” on 21st July’2010, and entry to Sree mandir on 21st July 2010. To know more, leave your comment or contact travel desk ‘metu@toshali.in, we will get back to you.

I trust you enjoyed this post; I would appreciate, if you share it on Twitter, Facebook, Orkut and other Social Networking sites.

SreeMandir Traditional Holy Attires or Bhesa of Sree Lord Jagannath, Puri

In Hindu mythologies and rituals Gods and Goddesses are revered and loved just as family. Probably belonging to the bhakti yoga culture popularized by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu – they wake up to strains of music, are offered prasadas, bathed, anointed with fragrances, dressed in finery and jewelry and fall asleep to lullabies. You can either view it as humanization of a deity or the acknowledgement of the Lord’s omnipresence.

In the Sree Mandir tradition of Sree Lord Jagannath, Puri there are altogether 24 beshas or Holy Attires or Ritual Costumes or  the Vastra Shringar of which 22 are used regularly while two beshas are used rarely. The Nagarjuna and Raghunath Besha. In all the attires or bhesas, Sree Lord Jagannath is the focal point except for the Pralambasurabadha Besha used to commemorate slaying of a demon of same name by Sree Lord Balabhadra.

The bhesas or the holy attires are:

  • Abakasha or Tadapa Uttari Bhesa

This is done daily, after mangala arati. Abakash is the tooth brushing and bathing ritual.

abakasa copy

  • Badasrunghara Bhesa

It is the nightly retirement dress. This is mostly made of different kinds of flowers and silk clothes.

Badasrunghara copy

  • Chandana Bhesa

This bhesa is done for 42 days, beginning on Akshaya Trutiya.

chandan copy

  • Hati Bhesa or Gajanana Bhesa

On the full moon day of the month of Jyestha, after the bathing ceremony is over, the Deities are dressed to resemble Lord Ganesha.

gajanana copy

  • Suna Bhesa

When the Deities return from the Gundicha Mandir on their chariots, they appear in the Golden dress. It is said that a darshan of the lord in Suna Bhesa frees one from the cycle of rebirth.

suna copy

  • Raja Bhesa

The Lord dresses up in this attire on the 10th day of the bright fortnight of Aswina, the full moon of Pousa and the full moon of Phalguna.

raja copy

  • Banabhoji Bhesa

On the 10th day of the dark fortnight in Bhadra, the Lords are dressed for a picnic, like the cowherds.

banabhoji copy

  • Kaliyadalana Bhesa

On the 11th day of the dark fortnight of Bhadra the Lord is dressed as Krishna the slayer of serpent Kaliya.

kaliadalana copy

  • Pralambasura Badha Bhesa

On the following day, the 12th day of the dark fortnight of Bhadra the Lords are dressed to commemorate Lord Balaram’s slaying of the demon Prahlamba. his is the only beshas when Lord Jagannath’s elder brother Lord Balabhadra occupied the central place.

pralambasurabadha copy

  • Krishna-Balarama Bhesa

On the 13th day of the dark fortnight of Bhadra, the Lords are dressed as Krishna and Balarama.

krushnabalarama copy

  • Bali Vamana Bhesa

On the 12th day of the bright fortnight Bhadra, the Lord is dressed in the image of his reincarnation as Vamana, the slayer of demon Bali.

bamana copy

  • Radha-Damodara Bhesa

From the 11th day of the bright fortnight of Ashwina to the 10th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika, the Lords are dressed with a rope around his waist in reminiscence of his bal-leela with mother Yashoda.

radhadamodara copy

  • Thiakia or Laxmi-Narayana Bhesa

This bhesa is used on the 11th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika.

costumes_laxminarayana copy

  • Bankachuda Bhesa

The curly haired make-up. Used on the 12th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika.

bankachuda copy

  • Adakia or Trivikrama Bhesa

Attire used on the 13th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika.

tribikram copy

  • Dalikia Bhesa or Laxmi Nrisimha Bhesa

Used on the 14th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika.

laxminrusingha copy

  • Raja Rajeswari Bhesa

Attire on the full moon of Kartika.

rajarajeswari

  • Chacheri Bhesa

From the 9th day of the bright fortnight to the full moon of Jyestha except the 14th day, this dress is used.

chacheri copy

  • Nagarjuna Bhesa

In honor of Parasurama. It is used only occasionally – during the month of Kartika, when there are six days of Panchaka. This was done six times in the last 30 years on 11/3/95, 11/16/94, 11/26/93, 11/3/68, 11/16/67 and 11/26/66.

Nagarjuna Bhesa copy

  • Ghodalagi and Jamalagi Bhesa

From the 6th day of the bright fortnight of Margasira (Odhan Sasthi) to the 5th day of the bright fortnight of Magha (Basanta Panchami) to Dol Purnima – the Deities wear winter clothes.

Ghodalagi copy

  • Padma Bhesa

On Saturdays or Wednesdays between the new moon of Magha and Basanta Panchami. The dresses are made from lotus, sola lace and paper.

Padma Bhesa copy

  • Gaja Uddharana Bhesa

On the full moon day of the month of Magha. It commemorates the story of Gajendra, the king of the elephants, and the alligator.

Gajaudharana Bhesa copy

Toshali Sands, Puri has exclusive arrangement to take you on visit to the “Sree Mandir” – The Lord Jagannath Temple, Puri Orissa ‘now called as Odisha”. To Know more, leave your comment or contact travel desk ‘metu@toshali.in, we will get back to you.

I would be glad to hear more about the Holy Ritual Costume or Attires or Bhesas, please post if you feel any information’s in the blog is missing. And would be gald to have you as their guest at Toshali Sands.

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“Shankha Khyetram”: The Holy Conch Shell Province of Lord Jagannath, Puri

The holy land of Orissa is divided into four kshetras. These kshetras are named after the four names of weapons of Lord Vishnu such as Shankha (conch shell), chakra (disc), gada (mace) and padma (lotus). Puri Dham is known as Shankha Kshetra. Bhubaneswar is Chakra Kshetra, Jajpura is Gada Kshetra, and Konark is Padma Kshetra (sometimes Ark Kshetra after the sun god)

The geographical size of Puri resembles a right oriented conch shell, the ‘Dakshinavarta Shankha’, which is why the name. The sacred section of puri looks like a conch shell and it is in this section that all the sacred centres like temples, mathas (English word for this), sacred tanks, trees and various other sacred sites are located. The Shankha Kshetra covers an area of roughly 10 square miles, out of which nearly 40% is submerged under the sea.

Tantric layout of Shankha Kshetra

Shankha Kshetra of Puri includes the Temple of Lord Jagannath and its huge compound circumscribed by a wall called Meghanada Pacheri. The temple complex is surrounded by streets or sahi, running in all directions from the temple. The sebakas (English word) live in the streets, which are close to the temple and monasteries, temples of several gods and goddesses, sacred tanks and trees, recreational and gymnastic centres (Jegaghar and Akhada (english word)) are located in different places scattered throughout the town.

The shape of the sacred section of Puri resembles a conch shell (Shankha) and, therefore, it is also known as the Shankha Kshetra. Like the other names, that is, Shri Khetra and Purusottam Khetra, which have bearing on the Lord Jagannath, the paramount deity of Puri, Shankha Kshetra has equal ritual and symbolic significance.  The name Shankha Kshetra is the most significant because Shankha is one of the Aiyudhas or weapons of Lord Vishnu who resides in the navel or the central part of the shell in the form of Lord Jagannath. Shankha Kshetra is about 10 miles in extent, of which nearly two koshas are submerged in the sea and the remaining three koshas are above water.

In the centre of the Kshetra lies the hillock called Nilagiri where the famous temple of the Lord Jagannath stands. The broad end of the Shankha Kshetra lies to the west where the temple of Lokanath, one of the eight noted Shiva Temples of Puri is located and on the apical end or the cone in the east, is located another Shiva Temple called the Nilakantha. The area between the two temples is two miles and is the most sacred.

Tantric layout of Shankha Khyetram
Tantric layout of Shankha Khyetram

According to the Tantric philosophy, the Shankha Kshetra is made up of seven concentric folds.

  • The innermost or first fold, which forms the navel, or the Kshetra, is the seat of the divine platform on which the Lord Jagannath with his elder brother Balabhadra and their sister Subhadra are presiding.
  • The second fold, which is the outer layer of the first or the innermost fold, is hexagonal in shape and in this are located four goddesses of power, two tirthas, two sacred trees, Garuda (vehicle of Lord Vishnu) and the top of the Nilgiri hill which is convex like the back of a tortoise. The goddesses are Bimala, Kamala, Sarbamangala and Uttaral. The sacred trees are Kalpapadapa and Salmalitaru. The tirthas are Rohinikunda and Pranitodakakunda.
  • The third fold, is the central part of the lotus-like structure having eight petals, each inlaid with an idol of Lord Shiva and a goddess. The eight Shivas are Agneswar, Bateswar, Khetrapaleswar, Chakreswar, Baikuntheswar, Pataleswar, Isaneswar, and Lokeswar. The eight goddesses are Dwarabasini, Mahabajreswari, Swanabhairabi, Bhadrakali, Bhubaneswari, Mahakaliaghorea, Sitala, and Jagnyeswari. These deities are responsible for watching and guarding the firstfold having the Supreme Lord at the centre of the sacred complex.
  • The fourth fold, forms the convex surface of the temple precinct (Mahakurma) and the inner compound wall.
  • The fifth fold, which is the outer layer of the fourth fold, is again the seat of another eight Shivas and eight goddesses. The Shivas are Bisweswar, Markandeswar, Mahakaleswar, Karnameswar, Mukteswar, Ugreswar, Kapilalochana and Agreswer. The goddesses are Bisweswari, Saptamatrika, Dakshinkali, Charchika, Alameswari, Barahi, Banadurgeswari and Basulikeswari. These deities are also in charge of watch and ward functions of the sacred complex.
  • In the sixth fold of the sacred space there are four ashrams. They are Angirs in the east, Pandu in the west, Markandeya in the north, and Bhrigu in the south.
  • The seventh fold which is the outermost zone consists of the sentries of the Shankha Kshetra and two pilgrim centres. That’s all or is it? Theres another legend. This place is named after demon Shankhasura who was killed by Lord Vishnu. Shankhasura was born from the sweat of demon Madhu. Vishnu killed Madhu when he was on the verge of killing Brahma. Shankhasura wanted to avenge Madhu’s death. He pleased Shiva by his penance and learned Tantra from him. While he was learning Tantra he could hear the recitation of veda. Rishi Yagnavalkya was learning Yajur veda from Brahma at the moment. Shankhasura wanted to learn the recitation and he asked Shiva for the source. Shiva instructed him to go to Brahma to learn the Vedamantra. But Brahma had already distributed the four Vedas among his disciples, so Brahma refused to teach him Vedamantra. Shankhasura was enraged and he took away the four Vedas from the disciples forcibly and hid them in the sea. Lord Vishnu took on the incarnation of “Meen” to search for the demon. The demon hid in the Kalpa Vriksha inside the present temple. Lord Vishnu tried to kill the demon. The demon hid in a conch. Vishnu used teh Sudarshan chakra but the hard conch diverted the chakra.
  • Finally Vishnu killed the demon with his Brahmastra. Shiva was furious at the death of his disciple. The assembled gods pleased Shiva by singing “Vedasara Staba” (glories of Shiva). He requested Vishnu to name the place as Shankha kshetra after the name of Shankhasura. The proposal was accepted and the place was named as “Shankha kshetra”.
Places of Interest around Shankha Khyetram
Places of Interest around Shankha Khyetram

Toshali Sands has exclusive arrangement to take you to places of your interest in the “SHANKHA KHYETRAM” and “RATH YATRA” – THE CAR FESTIVAL. To Know more, contact Toshali Sands, Puri travel desk or leave your comment, we wil get back to you.

I would be glad to hear more about Shankha Khetram, please post if you feel any informations in the blog is missing. And would be gald to have you as their guest at Toshali Sands.

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World Environment Day “Clean and Green, Protect and Save the Planet”

“Save Earth”. We have nowhere else to go. Its not my slogan and I dont know whose it is. The stark word of Carl Sagan – an astronomer drills in the need for a clean environment – a clean earth.  One excerpt from his – “Pale Blue Dot”. Dont read it, just feel it.

“Look at that dot. That’s home. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. Every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer, every king and peasant, every mother and father, every “supreme leader” in the history of our species lived there – on a spec of dust suspended in sunbeam…….. Our planet is a lonely speck in all this vastness, no help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves……… this is our last stand.”

Frightening? Perhaps. Truth? Absolutely. In Toshali Resorts, long before eco tourism became fashionable and government started to support initiatives we have been travelling the green path. The idea was to be in harmony with the surroundings. Toshali Sands had a great advantage. It was next door to a pristine beach, with 30 acres to spare. The area has been forested since 1989. Some 40 thousand trees and shrubs have been planted. Coconut, betel nut, bottle palm, ashoka, mango, casurina- mostly local fauna. They survive better and gel seamlessly. The idea was to compliment the Balukhanda reserve. The ‘view’ is definitely greener now. Solar energy use is in. It will continue to be a priority and the windy beaches may see a few windmills too- nothing definitive yet, just a thought. From the sea to the hills – Toshali Royal View Resort in Shilon Bagh, Shimla, is nestled on the pine slopes of the Kinnor Hills overlooking the snow clad peaks of the Himalayas. It is just half an hour from Shimla down the Kufri-Chail road. The building has a quaint old world feel. Frankly a gaudy building block on a dense pine slope would be an eye sore so the architects got us a design that blends with the surroundings. Planting trees is a not a special ‘drive’ here it is part of the ‘job’ – the overall attempt to blend in – environmentally, culturally and visually. Deodar, Himalayan fir and spruce are some of the species we have planted.

Toshali Jungle Lodge, Simlipal, is a unique resort. It is situated in one of the original 14 biosphere reserves of India and near a tiger reserve. It offers the visitors a unique ‘wild’ environment. A resort in a biosphere has to adhere to the strict guidelines – no littering, no trash, no activity disturbing the wildlife – just blending in – unobtrusively. We are bystanders watching life in the forest go by. We are lucky to have the privilege of watching ‘nature at work’. Without trying to sound too pompous Toshali is the only quality accomodation in the ‘neighbourhood’. And the quality does not come at the cost to the nature. The idea is – to leave things as you found them when you came.

Eco tourism is not fashionable, it’s a necessity. In Africa the Masais were educated on the need to preserve the big cats – tourism and conservation efforts succeeded. Eco friendly tourism is here to stay. Local inclusiveness is a must and today we would like to renew our pledges of being one with the nature on the World Environment Day, 5th June

 

We appeal : Plant one sapling a day, lets every day be the World Environment Day to “Save Our Planet”

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Corporate Golfing: The New Mantra of Business Vacation

The Toshali Sands Resort is located on Konark Marine Drive. The Puri railway station is just 7 km away form the hotel. Toshali Sands Resort the first 4 star category resort in Orissa approved by Dept. of Tourism sprawled across acres of lush green lawns and gardens and has views overlooking the Balukhanda Reserve Forest on the Konark Marine Drive in Puri. The resort offers some 100 plus AC rooms divided into Deluxe rooms, Cottages and Villas. All the rooms are well furnished with satellite television, telephone, internet accessibility etc.

The hotel offers three conference halls and an on request pick up or drop from the airport in Bhubneshwar (some 68 kms away). The resort abounds in greenery and last time around saw a flock of 20 ducks on the campus – they are still there. More than 30 acres of lush green is soothing to say the least. A 9 hole golf course is around 60 kms away and transport is easily arranged. Toshali Sands is a popular destination for corporates who plan conferences, seminars and events near Puri. Toshali was the name of the village where emperor Ashoka found peace – the resort derives its name from that village – and if tranquility is one criterion high on the list of corporate clients – they won’t be missing it. The Conference Coordinator at Toshali Sands takes care of all aspects of the event and customisations are in accordance with the wishes of the client.

Facilities for hosting corporate events are – adequate and robust rather than being exceptional. The cuisine is predominantly Indian and do not expect very exotic dishes on the menu. Late private dinners are not a problem and can be arranged on a short notice. There is more than enough scope for group activities and the scenes at the almost adjacent Balighai beach is soothing with sunrise and sunset offering stunning sceneries at the nearby confluence of river Nuanai and the sea. Pick up and drop are arranged on request – on a world war II Willys jeep. Though the reception asks for an hour’s notice for to and fro beach transportation it always took about 10 mins to arrive. It is a nice place for pleasure cum business trips – probably arranging a conference in a holy city makes the idea a bit of a novelty.

Our aim is to make organising corporate golf as easy as possible for our clients, whilst providing excellent service and competitive price. To cater the need of business meetings, international conventions, conferences, exhibitions and events you will find Toshali chains of exclusive business hotels and resorts that provide conference halls, board meeting rooms, and modern business centers. Organizations like MMTC, Maruti Udyog Limited, PSU’s other blue chip companies are the few big name, who come back regularly to avail the Convention and conference facility at Toshali Resorts.

For more detail Toshali Sands – http://bit.ly/c1shIY and Toshali Royal View Resort – http://bit.ly/dlcRfb .

I would love to hear, your forthcoming Corporate event, Toshali would be gald to have you as their guest. If you enjoyed this post, I would appreciate, if you share it on Twitter, Facebook, Orkut and other social networking.