Shri Jagannath is regarded as the Supreme Being and the Sovereign Monarch of the Odishan empire. The entire ritual pattern of Shri Jagannath has been conceived keeping such twin aspects in view. The ritual system of the temple is very elaborate and complex involving a multitude of functionaries above one thousand spread over one hundred categories. The rituals of the Lord can broadly be divided into three parts – the daily, the occasional, and the festive. In our temple these rituals assume the term ‘NITI’ Daily Rituals / NITI in Jagannath Mandir:
- Mangal Aarati ( opening of the Door and first ritual aarti ) at 5 a.m.
- Mailam at 6 a.m. – Removal of dresses and flowers, etc of the previous night worn by the Deities.
- Abakash at 6 a.m. to 6.30 a.m.- Purificatory rites like brushing of teeth and ritual bath
- Mailam at 6.45 a.m.: Wearing of other clothes with Bal Dhoop
- Beshalagi at 8 a.m – Wearing different ornaments with gold and precious stones to suit different festive occasions.
- Gopala Ballabha Puja at 9 a.m. Morning breakfast / Prasad offered to Lord
- Sakala Dhupaat 10 a.m-Morning food offering 16 Upachars or Sodasha Upachars.
- Madhyanha from 12:30 p.m. to p.m. -Afternoon Prasad offering
- Madhyanha Pahudha from 2 p.m. to 4.00 p.m -Deities retire or resting for the afternoon.
- Sandhya Aarati at 6:30 p.m: Evening Aaratis after Madhyana Dhupa Mailam.
- Sandhya Dhupa – 7 p.m. to 8 p.m, After “Sandhya Aarati” again Prasad are offered to the deities . After Puja again lamp offering is made which is called as “Jaya Mangala Aarati”.
- Mailam and Chandana lagi: After “Sandhya Dhoopa” deities change their clothes and are annointed with Sandal paste mixed with champhor, keshar and Kasturi.
- Badashringar Vesha : After Chandan lagi, deities are dressed with Baralagi Patta (silken robes on which some portions of Geeta Govinda of Jayadev are woven in to the texture of these robes) and flower ornaments.
- Badashringara Bhoga: This is the last bhoga of the day. Puja is offered with Pancha Upachar with Pakhal (watered rice), Kadali bada, Kshiri, Kanji etc.
- Khata Seja Lagi and Pahuda at 12.00 noon : The bedsteads of the Deities are arranged for Their sleeping.
This is in brief the daily rituals observed in the Temple. It is generally not possible to follow the time prescribed for each ritual on account of various practical difficulties. On the specific festive days, additional rituals are performed. As a result, changes in timings and alterations in the routine rituals are made. Jai Jagannath!