Bhubaneswar: The stage is set for Snana Purnima rituals of the sibling deities, which is a prelude to the annual Rath Yatra, at Jagannath Temple in Puri on Monday.
The Shree Jagannath Temple Administration on Sunday released the schedule for the mega festival, including that of this ritual.
Snana Yatra, also known as Deba Snana Purnima, is a special bath ceremony of the sibling deities held on Purnima (full moon day) of Jyestha month.
As per the tradition, Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra will be escorted from the sanctum sanctorum to the Snana Mandap in a procession at 4.30 am after ‘Mangal Arati’. The mandap is an elevated platform on the temple premises facing East overlooking the Badadanda. The deities are adorned in ‘Senapatta’ to bear the stress during ‘pahandi’.
It is here that they will then be accorded a ritualistic bath after the sevayats perform a complex set of rituals. This is expected to take place on Monday afternoon by a special set of servitors. ‘Chherapahanra’, the ceremonial sweeping, would then be performed by Puri King Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb at 4 pm.
After this ritual, the servitors will decked up the deities in elephant attire, popularly known as ‘Hati Besha’ at 4.30 pm.
‘Sahan Mela’ or public darshan will be allowed from 7.30 pm till late in the night.
The procession, in which the divine deities are taken to Snana Bedi, is called Pahandi.
The water used for bathing the deities is taken from the Golden Well (Suna Kua) present inside the Jagannath temple. After performing Puja, 108 pitchers of herbal and aromatic water are used to bathe the three sibling deities.
All the pots, preserved in the ‘Bhoga Mandap’, are first purified with turmeric, sandalwood and flowers etc. Then, ‘Suaras’ take these pots from the golden well to the Snana Bedi.
This ritual is called ‘Jalabhisheka’.
Notably, the holy water is drawn from the golden well once a year.
After completion of the bathing ceremony, the deities are dressed up in Sada Besha. Later in the day, Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra adorn the Hati Besha (a form of Lord Ganesha).
A special Bhog is also prepared to offer to the Lord.
The deities can then have darshan, as they appear for ‘Sahana Mela’.
While LORD Jagannatha and Lord Balaram are dressed like an elephant, GODDESS Subhadra wears a lotus flower Besha.
At night, the deities are taken to the ‘Anasara Ghar’ on the temple premises. They are supposed to fall ill after the bath and allowed to recuperate for 15 days when there is no public darshan. During this period they are offered only fruits and water, mixed with cheese and ‘Dasamula’ medicines by the temple physician.
After the bath, the colours painted on the images fade out, following which, the ‘Daitas’ repaint the images.
As informed by the senior sevayat Binayak Dasmohapatra, the devotees will have the Sahana Mela darshan of the deities in Hati Besha (elephant attire) at the Snana Mandap from 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm. After the sahana mela darshan, the Daitapatis will perform the Pushpanjali, Dora Lagi and Bahuda Pahandi rituals. This will be followed by Suna Chita, Subarna Rahu Lekha and Mailam Lagi rituals. The deities will be taken on pahandi to the Anasara Pindi at 2 am and later placed inside the Anasara ghara (room having no window) after the Anasara rituals.
Sources in the Gobardhan Peeth said that the Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati will not be able to witness the bathing rituals of the deities this year as he has undergone a knee surgery.
Importance Of Snana Purnima
The devotees believe that getting ‘Darshan’ of deities on this auspicious day will rid them of all sins. Thousands of devotees visit the Shri Jagannath Temple on this occasion.
A day before Rath Yatra, the deities reappear in their youthful form ‘Nabajouban Besha’.
The Rath Yatra, this year, is scheduled for July 4 when the deities will proceed to their aunt’s house – Gundicha Temple – in three colourful chariots.