Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar

Nagarjuna vesha is observed every 26 years in Puri. The vesha was last observed in 1994, when six devotees were killed in the ensuing stampede.(AP)



About 10 days after it was alleged that the ‘sun and moon’ ornament of Lord Jagannath went missing, the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration on Monday said the jewels were never missing. The precious ornaments were used in the Nagarjuna Vesha ritual.

Nagarjuna Vesha of Lord Jagannath and his siblings in the temple was held on November 27 without the presence of any devotees due to Covid-19 restrictions. A day after the ritual, an employee of the temple was seen coming out of the temple carrying the decorative ‘sun and moon’ piece that stirred a controversy.

However, on Monday, the niti administrator of the termple, Jitendra Kumar Sahoo, said the “sun and moon” ornaments which were seen outside the temple on November 28 were actually made of thermocol.

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“Temple servitor Basant Chandra Rana had prepared two extra ‘sun and moon’ ornaments of thermocol, beyond the items listed by the temple commander for Nagarjuna Vesha. As the same ornaments made of gold were already there, the thermocol ornaments were not used,” he said.

The Niti administrator said after the Nagarjuna Vesha was over, two senior servitors, Bhandara Mekap Madhusudhan Mekap and Daita sevayat Ramchandra Das Mahapatra, were handed over the artificial ‘sun and moon’ ornaments on their request.

Nagarjuna Vesha is observed during the month of Kartika when Panchuka (last five days of Kartika month) is observed as six days instead of five. The vesha is celebrated in commemoration of the killing of Kartyavera Arjuna, one of the main kings slain by Parsuram. The vesha was last observed in 1994 when six devotees were killed in the ensuing stampede.