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.
The word 'Chita' literally means the decoration of the forehead with special materials like sandal paste, musk and gorachana etc. But in Puri three magnificient chitas (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.
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.
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 Bhesa takes place. The actual scene of killing the demonlike snake is dramatised in the sacred tank of Markanda.
This Bhesa takes place in the months of Asvina and Kartika. Radha is the female counter- part of Krisna. Damodara is one of the names of Krisna. This Bhesa, therefore, highlights the great religious integration that took place in the Jagannatha temple with regard to the episodes of Radha and Krisna.
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