BHUBANESWAR: Failing to elicit any response from the Nepal government, Jagannath authorities in Puri are struggling to keep the supply of
kasturi (obtained from a certain breed of deer) required for ****mukh shringar**** of the holy trinity of Jagannath, Subhadra and Balabhadra at the 12th century shrine.
Traditionally, Nepal's royal family, which still enjoys special privileges at the temple, would send kasturi to Puri. Since the fall of monarchy in the Himalayan nation, Nepal's new rulers have not responded to the temple's request for regular supply Kasturi, especially during the Ratha Yatra.
Kasturi, according to temple insiders, is extracted from the navel of a certain breed of deer found in Nepal and is used for different rituals including mukha singar (facials) of the temple's presiding deities during the annual Rath Yatra.
Temple sources said about five grams of kasturi powder is mixed with different herbs to make a paste before the same is applied on the faces and bodies of the deities, who "fall ill" every summer before the Rath Yatra.
With the big festival just a week away, shortage of Kasturi has become a source of worry and anxiety for the temple authorities.
"We have written to Nepal's consul general in Kolkata many times, but have yet to get any response," said a temple official.
Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati said chief minister Naveen Patnaik must ask Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up the matter with Nepal. "The Gajapati Maharaja of Puri should also talk to the king of Nepal and tell him the latter's rights at Puri temple are protected, so he should take an initiative to ensure that the Puri shrine gets Kasturi from Nepal. Nepal should respect the tradition not only because it is our neighbour, but also for a variety of reasons," he said.