Navakalevara The New Embodiment

Director : Prithviraj Mishra
Duration : 49 minutes 10 seconds
Produced by IGNCA

The icons of Lord Jagannātha and his companions in Jagannātha Temple of Puri in Orissa are made of Neem wood. Ritualistically, these icons are made after an interval of twelve/nineteen years. This event is called Navakalevara or the new embodiment. This film is a rare documentation of this event, shot on 29 March 1996, sixty-five days before the full moon day of Jyeṣṭha or the day better known as Snāna Pūrṇimā.

This ancient event revolves around Banajaga Yātrā, the journey undertaken in search of the sacred log. Temple-men known as dayitas or daitas, said to be descendants of Viśvavasu tribe of the mythological origin, are authorized for this exercise. Many rituals are followed before the tree is axed. Most important point to be noted is that in this process a new sapling is planted on the spot where the Neem tree was axed -a sacred gesture of balancing the nature.

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