Suna Besha, also known as Raja or Rajadhiraja besha or Raja Besha, is an event when the Lord Jagannath and other deities Balabhadra, and Goddess Subhadra are adorned with gold jewelry.
Suna Besha is observed 5 times during a year. It is commonly observed on Magha Purnima (January), Bahuda Ekadashi also known as Asadha Ekadashi (July), Dashahara (Vijyadashami) (October), Karthik Purnima (November), and Pousa Purnima (December). The name Suna Besha is derived from two words, ‘Suna’ meaning “gold” and ‘Besha’ meaning “costume”.
While one such Suna Besha event is observed on Bahuda Ekadashi during the Rath Yatra on the chariots placed at the lion’s gate (also called Singhdwar.); the other four Beshas’ are observed inside the temple on the Ratna Singhasana (gem studded altar).
On this occasion gold plates are decorated over the hands and feet of Jagannath and Balabhadra; Jagannath is also adorned with a Chakra (disc) made of gold on the right hand while a silver conch adorns the left hand. However, Balabhadra is decorated with a plough made of gold on the left hand while a golden mace adorns his right hand.During 2015, the Suna Bhesha will be held as part of the Nabakalebara 2015 rituals following the Ratha Yatra on 27 July.
HISTORY OF SUNA BESHA:
During the reign of Ananga Bhima Deva, the king of Utkal, Lord Jagannath was declared as ‘Utkal Samrat’ or “Lord of the Nation” in the 13th century, and by then the Jagannath Temple at Puri had been built by him in 1198. According to temple history, Suna Bhesha was introduced during the era of King Kapilendradeva in 1460 A.D. When the king Kapilendradeva (r.1434-1466 AD) returned home triumphant after winning wars over the rulers of the Deccan (Southern India) he brought a huge bounty which was carried in 16 cart loads (on 16 elephants is also mentioned). The trophies which he collected consisted of diamonds and gold. The day he arrived in Puri he donated all the booty to the Lord Jagannath. He instructed the temple priests to get ornaments crafted out of the gold and diamond he had donated to adorn the deities on the occasion of the Ratha Yatra festival. Since then the deities, Jagannatha, Balabharda and Subhadra are decorated with this jewelry after the Bahuda Yatra.