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Gosani Yatra in Puri – Naga Yatra Around Puri Jagannath Temple

The period of Navratri, Durga Puja and Dussera in Hindu calendar is observed as Gosani Yatra in Puri Jagannath temple in Odisha. Gosani means Mother Goddess in the Puri local dialect. Naga Yatra is also held during the same period. The Naga Yatra is dedicated to the valiant young men who gave their lives protecting the region, the deity and the Puri Jagannath Temple from foreign attacks. These young men were from the Jaga Akhadas of Puri.

Gosani yatra is as old as the Jagannath temple. It is observed to pay obeisance to the goddesses who protect the city and the Jagannath temple. It is celebrated throughout the various localities in Puri town. The festival is closely associated with the jaga akhadas or traditional gymnasiums in the region.

During the festival temporary pandals are erected and images of Mother Goddess in various forms are displayed. Various cultural and secular themes are also part of the pandal display.

The images displayed on various pandals in Puri town are distinct. The sculptors, who make the huge images, follow the traditional Odishan paintings and sculptures. Heroic aspect of the region is displayed on the occasion.

Each jaga ghara (jaga akhada or sabi) have the same theme every year. The most famous image is that of the Mahishasura Mardini durga.

The sculptures created by various Jaga Akhadas move in procession to Bada Danda of Jagannath temple on the Dussera day.

On the day of immersion of the idols, the servitors of the temple carry the murtis from Jagannath Temple on their shoulders and bring them to the entrance of the temple where a dev sabha (or meeting of the gods) is arranged with over 40 idols seated together.

After the divine meeting, the direction from Lord Jagannath comes in the form of a special garland or an agyaan mala, following which the murtis are taken for immersion. The average height of the murtis is around 15 feet, the tallest being Goddess Barabati’s idol, which is 22 feet.

Thousands of devotees gather to witness this colorful and spectacular procession.

Gosani Yatra begins from the sixth day of Navratri - the nine-day worship of the Mother Goddess in September or October. The Goddesses displayed during the period are the different forms of Goddess Durga. The lanes and by lanes or sahis of Puri have presiding Goddesses. They are entrusted with the security of the Jagannath temple from all sides.

The Gosanis (Mother Goddesses) are named after local plants such as Kakudikhai, Janhikhai, Jani Mundia, Gelabai, Sunya Gosani and Barabati. They have colourful faces of yellow, blue and red.
The Goddesses have emotions of rage and victory over demon Mahisasura.

The sculptures of various Gosanis are unique and tall. They are ornamented with accessories made of golden zari and sola — a traditional craft of Puri. Images of animals, birds and toys give the backdrop an attractive appearance.