Gajanana Besha

By: Kulendra Kumar Nanda
~ Gajanana Besha ~
The Gajanana Besha is done on the full – moon day in the month of Jyestha. This day is known as Snana Purnima. The deities are brought in a ceremonial procession to the Snana Vedi (Bathing platform) Which is situated in the Ananda Bazar. After the deities are placed on the holy bathing platform, they assume the Gajanana Besha (elephant – headed costume) and give darshan to the devotees. This Besha is also known as Hati Besha. The material for this Besha are brought from Gopal Tirtha Mutt and Raghab Das Mutt .
The bathing ritual is done with scented water, kept for the purpose since previous night by the servitors . After the deities are ceremonially bathed on the bathing platform , the servitors proceed to the mutts to fetch materials meant for the Besha of LordBalabhadra and Sudarshan. The materials for the Besha of Lord Jagannath and Devi Subhadra are brought to the Snana Mandap from Raghab Das Mutt. After the Besha is done by the servitors, offerings are made to the deities. Then devotees get scope to have a darshan of the deities .
There is a story about this Gajanana Besha. A devotee of Ganapatya sect from Maharashtra, Sri Ganapati Bhatta, who was worshiper of Lord Go Ganesh came to Puri to to have a darshan of the deities . He saw the deities on the bathing platform . He was disappointed as he could not see Lord Ganesh there and Returned . On his return way at Mukteshwar, he was persuaded by one parichha servitor to come back to the bathing platform . When came back , he saw Lord Balabhadra as White Ganesh and Lord Jagannath as Black Ganesh on the bathing platform. He fell flat at the feet of deities . Since then the deities take Gajanana Besha to satisfy the devotees of Lord Ganesh .

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