Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra
Who said that men’s fashion has to be bland and boring?
Jagannath temple in Puri is one of the 4 important pilgrimage spots for any Hindu. The temple is old & magnificent. It is famous for the Rath Yatra festival which lasts for a few days – the procession in which the Gods are taken out of their shrine to visit another temple.
But even during the rest of the year, the place is vibrant with pilgrims and tourists. And priests.
Years ago I had heard from friends that the priests there harass the visitors and crowd you and overwhelm you into succumbing to their offers of assisting in conducting prayers for you inside the temple. The complaints and the grumbles that I had heard reminded me of the crowd of tourist guides seen in Agra at Fatehpur Sikri. So when I went to Puri – I had this negative notion in my head based on the words of others.
As usual, this negative notion turned out to be entirely incorrect.
The priests or Pandaas as they are called, are omnipresent But they were silently and quietly present and not at all in the way. They added a wonderful and welcoming atmosphere to the area around the temple. In a separate blog I will talk about this wonderful atmosphere of the temples in Orissa – one that is imprinted so strongly on my mind that I can revisit the entire experience using the bridge of a single thought.
But just speaking of the Pandaas for now:
They were all dressed traditionally and in my opinion so very stylishly! A dhoti and a gamcha provided the perfect provided the perfect garment format for the weather here. And the colors & weaves provided the perfect combination or ceremonial attire and simplicity. Such vibrant colors and eyecatching contrasting combinations are usually only seen on women. But here in Puri the Pandaas outshine everyone else.
A few pictures :
And so as I strolled and lunched and was rickshawed around I would wait to catch a glimpse of another Pandaa … in a new combination or a new fashionable accessory!
If only we saw these beautiful colors on men everywhere!
(I realise that it is important to protect my mind from the negativity of others ….negativity infects one too easily and could take a lifetime to wrench oneself free of a single thought. Imagine had I not personally experienced this place, I would have spent my life thinking that the place is full of nuisance-causing hard-selling priests – a view totally opposite of my own experience – what a wrongful judgement that would have been.)