The “Nabakalebara” of the Lord of the Universe

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HOUSTON: “Vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya, navani grhnati naro parani, tatha sarirani vihaya jirnany, anyani samyati navani dehi” So says the Bhagbat Gita. The most fundamental belief system of the “Sanatana Dharma” that puts human birth and death into a cycle is the essence of the above verse. As if to remind us of this truth, Lord Jagannath, the Lord of the Universe, makes it no exception for Himself and discards His old body and takes on a new one again in the form of “Daru Brahma” once every twelve or nineteen years.

This year is a special year for the devotees of Lord Jagannath all over the world. The three deities along with the Sudarshana Chakra residing in the temple at the city of Puri, on the east cost of India, will go through the human cycle of birth and death and birth. Every 12~19 years, the deities in the form of “Daru Brahma” change into new forms carved out of the logs of special Neem Tree. This event is known as the “Naba Kalebara” or literally the new bodies. Thus, this year’s Chariot Festival is a special event as it coincides with the “Naba Kalebara (Installation of new deities)”.

This important ritual has been successfully performed under the guidance of Dr. Debananda Pati, president of OCC with the help of four priests, Pundit Bibhudutta Mishra and Atchuta R Mankali of Houston, Sidharth Dev Sarangi of Austin and Hrusikesh Panda of College Station. Samadhi of the old deities and installation of new deities was carried out on June 15, after a day of offerings and fire worship or “yagna.” Participation in this ritual was limited to public as it requires strict observance of austerity measures for one full week. On the occasion of Lord’s Sradha, a public feast has been sponsored by the Jagannath Devotees of Houston area on June 28, Sunday at 7pm at the ISKON temple. All are welcome to this auspicious event to partake the offerings to the Lord in the form of Mahaprasad dinner.

This year’s chariot festival will be celebrated on Saturday, July 18, at the VPSS Haveli, 11715 Bellfort Village Drive, Houston, TX, 77031. The event is organized by OCC with the help of Shree Sitaram Foundation and many other religious organizations of Greater Houston area.

This year OCC is proud to present a live vocal devotional concert by the world renowned classical vocalist Padma Bibhusana Sangeet Martanda Pt. Jarsraj Ji.

Tickets to the concert are available at a very reasonable rate at Maharani Music, 5901 Hilcroft Av, Suite B4A, Houston, TX 77036 and Vishala Grocers, 5205 S Mason Rd, Katy, TX 77450. Tickets can also be purchased online by visiting

The major attractions of the Chariot festival are planned for the afternoon hours and evening include spiritual Bhajan presentation by the assembled devotees, “Pahandi” where all devotees are allowed to carry their beloved Lords on to the chariot, the chariot pulling by thousands of devotees, devotional kirtans and bhajans, Kids activities, maha arati and Maha Prasad Dinner for all assembled devotees. The admission and parking are free.

Celebration of this festival is possible by generous support of participating organizations and individuals. The event is partially funded by a grant from Houston City Arts Alliance. We cordially invite everyone from Houston and neighboring cities to participate in this year’s chariot festival and experience the oneness that binds all humanity.

For further information, visit or call 832-225-2376 or e-mail at You may connect on

Tickets to Pt. Jasraj Concert: