We’ve just heard the Goddess Subhadra's dress, as those of her two brothers, has been ‘designed’ by a noted name in the fashion business. They’ll all be in haute couture for...
We’ve just heard the Goddess Subhadra's dress, as those of her two brothers, has been ‘designed’ by a noted name in the fashion business. They’ll all be in haute couture for Ratha Yatra in Calcutta, even if the journey is simply one of a symbolic return to childhood. Heavily embroidered and embedded with semi-precious stones, the magenta costumes are no innocent sailor-suits for sure. And, to ace that, another ‘designer’ is outfitting the deities for their return trip.
We’re doing our bit as well but, be certain, ours is a deconstructed interpretation of the festival that addresses, far from any superficial surface embellishments, the spirit of true worship and the joy of humans and Gods commingling as friends and fellow travellers.
The wheels of Subhadra’s chariot are indicated in the twelve polish-pat and grained discs of the necklace and earrings. In the former they’re tapered towards the rear flanks and lined between pairs of thick swarnachuda (the pulling ropes fastened to the Devadalana) formed by aligning gold balls and rollers along the two sides. An inch of tipki-kamal chain completes the endpiece. You’ll notice the spires, sans finial and flag, clearly in the shape of the earrings although the infill is identical to the wings of the necklace. But there’s no deck, and no posts and makars. Instead, we have a cascade of delicate daana blossoms (one of two favourite flowers of Kaliya, the other being the champaka) spread across the front in the manner of a floral gorget. An edging of ball clusters heightens the frivolity of the piece and does well to complete it without impinging on the innate uniqueness of form where you see a diaphanous mesh across the front and solid volumes to the sides.
In the chariot of our dreams, you are the residing deity. While Suna Bhesha, where all three siblings are decorated with 208kgs of gold 'limbs' and jewellery, comes just five times a year, the closest to now being on Bahuda Ekadashi, the day after Ulto-Rath, we feel we need to keep you adorned in gold unceasingly, always, forever.There's no designated 'Koili Baikuntha' in our temple in which you are reborn from time to time, for deep within the mandir of our heart you forever hold your place in the sacred garbha gudi where we complete your worship in the purest gold with handcrafted jewels that are as perfect in their workmanship as they are sinless of soul. Here, in this rare guinea-gold ornament, celebrating with tumultuous joy the Goddess Subhadra's journey with an undone garland of Lord Jagannath's favourite flowers, we make the esoteric universal, the mortal celestial, and the beautiful sublime. And this we offer you as our humble votive knowing you, and only you, are the one true deity to whom we owe our every breath. To you, to you, to you, we dedicate our very being.