Hera Panchami In Puri: Separation Pangs Take Laxmi To Gundicha Temple

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Puri: Four days after the sibling deities left Jagannath Temple for Gundicha Temple, his wife Goddess Laxmi has begun missing Lord Jagannath.

Unable to bear the pangs of separation, Goddess Laxmi visits Gundichabadi secretly and, on still not being able to meet him, gets angry and breaks a part of Nandhighosha chariot, parked in front of the Gundicha Temple in a custom known as Hera Panchami Niti. And devotees are flocking to Puri to witness this ritual that is symbolic of the conjugal love between Lord Jagannath and Goddess Lakshmi.

On Sunday night, devotees could not have a darshan of the deities after 9pm, as Banakalagi rituals were performed at Adapa Mandap.

Hera Panchami Niti rituals are performed on the fifth day of Ratha Jatra. As Goddess Lakshmi is exempted from travelling with Lord Jagannath to the Gundicha Temple, she gets angry with Her husband. On a suggestion by Goddess Bimala, who is Lord Jagannath’s Tantric consort and guardian of Jagannath Tempe, Goddess Lakshmi secretly visits Gundicha Temple to catch a glimpse of the Lord.

But though Lord Jagannath is there along with his siblings, he is surrounded by devotees inside the shrine and never gets a chance to meet His wife. Annoyed at this, Goddess Lakshmi throws “Moha Churna” (a herb in powder form given to her by Goddess Bimala) on Her husband for His early return to Srimandir.

After this act, the Pati Mahapatra – a representative of Lord Jagannath – offers an “Agyan Mala” (a garland of consent) on behalf of Lord Jagannath to Goddess Lakshmi, assuring her of his return to Srimandir or Jagannath Temple after three days.

On Hera Panchami, servitors carry Goddess Lakshmi on a palanquin in a grand procession to the Gundicha Temple. The palanquin halts near the Lord’s chariot, Nandighosha, where the Pati Mahapatra – a representative of Lord Jagannath – welcomes Goddess Lakshmi with “Bandapana”. She is taken near the Jaya Bijaya Dwara where from the palanquin she throws the “Moha Churna” at her husband.

But she does not get enough time to have a darshan of Lord Jagannath because of the ongoing evening rituals and gets angry and breaks a part of the Nandhighosha chariot.

While she had visited Gundicha Temple in a grand procession, she now feels guilty about breaking a part of the chariot and returns to Srimandir taking the Gohiri Sahi route without any procession, said a servitor.

According to the “Ratha Chakada” scripture, Hera Panchami was introduced by King Kapilendra Deb. Earlier, the ritual was performed through chanting. But the king conducted the rituals in a grand way, with the Panchu Pandavs also taking part.

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