As per long standing tradition the Priests of the Jagannath Temple (Puri) worship Maa Mangala at the Kakatpur Mangala Temple. It is said the Goddess appears to them in their dreams revealing the location of the holy trees.
The countdown to the Nabakalebar of Lord Jagannath starts with the formation of the search party that would go out to locate the “Holy Tree”. Search party consists of
1 member of the Pati Mahapatra family
30 police officers &
2 inspectors of police
The function begins after the Big Midday Offering to Lord Jagannath. The blessings of the Lord is sought.A twelve foot garland called Dhanva Mala made specially for this day is offered to the lord and His siblings. After worshipping the Lord, the garland is given to the Pati Mahapatra family, who is meant to lead the procession.
He would from then on carry the huge garland until the sacred tree is located. Upon spotting the tree the Garland is placed on top of a coconut and offered to the Tree. Apart from the garland, the robes of Lord are given to the descendants of Bitarachha Mahapatra family, Dayitapaties, and the Pati Mahapatra who would tie it as a turban on their head while going on the procession. Both the garland and the clothes are significant in the sense that it is indicative of the Lord himself traveling with the team.
Patta clothes used by the Lord are also given to the Lenka family representative and the nine Maharanas who accompany the group. They are the actual carpenters who build the new chariots every year and who will make the new Jagannath deities as well. Once the Mekap family members touch the forehead of each members of the procession with the Lord’s sandal, the procession officially takes off.
Their first halt would be the palace of the King of Puri (Gajapati) where they are required to seek his permission to continue on the holy mission. After staying here for two days and doing meditations and prayers, the team starts out for Kakatpur, a village 50 miles of Puri to the famous temple of Maa Mangala. After reaching the village, they take rest for several days while the oldest. Dayitapati sleeps inside the temple. He has a dream during this stay in which goddess Mangala tells him the exact location where the trees can be found.
The tree for each of the four deities will be in a different place. This may take as long as 15 days to one month.During this entire period the group would eat the prasada of goddess Mangala. But sometimes provision is made for MAHAPRASAD to be brought from Puri.
King Cobra (Naga) is found at the foot of the daru (designated tree) as per the selection criteria.
Once the tree is located that fulfills all the required conditions, a yagna is performed in front of it. Now the team moves to a temporary thatched hut nearby and stays in it till the trees are felled.