Lord Jagannath and Maa Laxmi participate in dice game

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Puri, Oct 25 (UNI) Lord Jagannath and his consort Devi Laxmi today participated in a dice game (gambling) popularly called ''Kauri Khela'' as the ''Kumar purnima'' is celebrated across Orissa as Laxmi puja.

As per the temple traditions, the servitors escorted Devi Mahalaxmi to the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord Jagannath temple where the ceremonial dice game was played atop the Ratnasimhasan between the servitors playing on behalf of the Lord Jagannath and Mahalaxmi.

Conventional coin ''Kauri''(small conch cells),the age old medium of exchange was used in the game. In the final game Lord Jagannath conceded defeat and the servitors of Mahalaxmi imprisoned the representing image of Lord Jagannath-Neela Madhav and escorted him to the Mahalaxmi temple for a week.

During the week-long punishment lord Nilamadhav remains tied to the throne of Mahalaxmi. To mark this ceremony of the deities the devotees and the residents too gamble in large scale throughout the night.

According to a popular belief, gambling on this night brings wealth and prosperity. The day was also celebrated as Kumar poornima, a festival dedicated to the spinsters. All the girls wore new clothes and worshipped lord Kartik to grant them a suitable bridegroom.

In the evening the traditional ''Chanda Chakata'', a sweetmeat prepared of ''cheese, paneer, lia and Khai'' besides floral service was offered to''Chand''(Moon God) and distributed.

The pilgrim city today witnessed a heavy rush on the sea beach and also in the Jagannath temple as scores of young girls wearing new clothes were visiting these two places and also moving about the nearby tourist spots organising feasts.

UNI

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