Holy Month Kartik in Puri
It is believed that in Sri Jagannath Temple has thirteen festivals are celebrated in twelve months (i.e. in a calendar year). In fact, there are more festivals than this belief. Amogst all of those festivals, Kartik Purnima is a very important festivals in Puri. Kartik Poornima celebrated on the 15th of the Full moon day of Kartik (November-December). Kartik is the eighth lunar month of the Hindu year when the sun is Krittika or Pleiades. Kartik is perhaps the holiest of all the months in the Hindu calendar characterised by many religious festivals. In Varanasi on this day, the ghats come alive with thousands of diyas (brightly- it earthern lamps), this unique festival celebrated in Varanasi is called Dev Deepavali. The Kartik Purnima festival also coincides with the Jain light festival and Guru Nanak Jayanti.
The whole month of ‘Kartika’ is considered to be the most sacred for the pious Hindus. All of them take pre-dawn bath and visit temples. The last five days are considered more sacred, called ‘Panchuka’, the last day being the “Kartika Purnima“. Every day they take food only once in the afternoon which is known as ‘Habisha’. Lakhs of devotees thronged the Pilgrim City to observe the month-long Kartika ‘brata’. The devotees, mostly old couples and widows, stay put in the town the entire month and spend most of their time chanting ‘Kartik Mahatmya’, a religious text. The devotees take one vegetarian meal a day (most of them depend on mahaprasad) and worship the holy Tulasi. Meanwhile, the temple administration has rescheduled the daily nitees and rituals to facilitate darshan.
The last five days of the month would draw more devotees who usually visit the temple to observe ‘Panchuka’, considered the holiest days of the month. The Lords are dressed in five different forms each day. The ‘brata’ would conclude on the Kartik Purnima day with devotees taking holy dip in Pancha Teertha before darshan of Lord Jagannath. The last five days of the month would draw more devotees who usually visit the temple to observe ‘‘Panchuka”, considered to be the holiest days of the month. The lords used to take five different new ”Veshas” (attires) each day.
The ”Kartik brata” would conclude on the ”Kartik purnima” day with the devotees taking holy bath in ”Pancha teerth” before darshan of the lord Jagannath. This festival is celebrated with lot of respect in each and every individual of Puri.