Lord Jagannath’s Bathing Ritual Performed In Puri On Snana Purnima
Puri: Thousands of devotees witnessed the ‘Snana Jatra’, the ceremonial bathing festival of Lord Jagannath in Odisha’s Puri. The annual ritual is celebrated on the occasion of Purnima or full moon day of the Hindu month of Jyeshtha.
Amidsts chanting of slokas, the priests of the 12 century shrine poured 108 pots of holy water fetched from a particular well located on the temple premises on the idols of Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath.
Earlier in the morning, the deities along with the image of Sudarshana were taken out of the sanctum sanctorum to the ‘Snan Mandap’, bathing altar, in a grand procession.
After the bathing rituals, the deities were adorned in ‘Gaja Vesha’ or elephant attire.
As per the rituals, Gajapati king Divyasingha Deb had a darshan of the Lord on the ‘Snan Mandap’ and offered special puja as he is considered as the first sevak (priest) of Lord Jagannath.
It is a belief among devotees that if they have darshan of the trinity on Snan Mandap on the day, they will be cleansed of all sins.
The Skanda Purana mentions that King Indradyumna arranged this ceremony for the first time when the idols of the deities were first installed in the temple. After the bathing rituals, the deities fell ill and were kept in a sick chamber to recuperate in privacy under the care of the Raj Vaidya (royal doctor). It is said that with the Ayurvedic medication (pnachan) administered by the Raj Vaidya the Lord recovered in a fortnight and resume giving an audience to devotees.
After completion of snana jatra ritual, the deities return to the main temple in a procession in the evening and are placed in a place called ‘Anasara Pindi’. Subsequently they fall ill and remain in bed for 15 days.
During this period, the Daitapati priests perform certain secret rituals of the deities. The devotees would be able to see the deities a day before the annual car festival. It is believed that the Holy Trinity appears in youthful form on this day after recovering from fever induced by the bath.