Lord Jagannath devotees congregated in Puri in large numbers yesterday (23 June 2013) to witness rituals of Deva Snana Purnima, the prelude to Rath Yatra, which begins on July 10.
“The festival is observed on the full moon day of the Odia month of Jyestha. This is incidentally the first event of a year when the idols of the three siblings are brought out of the sanctum sanctorum,” said Jagannath culture expert Pandit Surya Narayan Rathasharma.
On the auspicious occasion, Lord Jagannath and his siblings, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra, are given a ceremonial bath following which they fall “sick” and are transferred to a secret room known as Anasara Ghara. Here, they undergo treatment for about 15 days and are out of bounds for devotees.
After the fever abates, the Holy Trinity set out for their aunt’s place — Gundicha temple — in a grand procession, in what is better known as Rath Yatra.
The larger-than-life idols of the three deities were carried out of the sanctum sanctorum to a snan mandap (bathing altar) on the temple premises and were bathed using 108 pitchers of scented water. Of these, 35 pots are reserved for Lord Jagannath while Lord Balabhadra was bathed with 33, Goddess Subhadra with 22 and Sudarshan 18.
After the lavish bath got over, Puri king Gajapati Dibyasingh Deb arrived at the temple in a procession. Known as the lord’s first servitor, the king swept the floor where the deities were seated, which is known as the chhera pahanra ritual. The idols were decked up in gaja besa or the elephant avatar.
Though it was sunny in the morning, the heavens opened up in the afternoon. Puri recorded 3mm rainfall today. No untoward incident was reported.
Security was beefed up ahead of the rituals with 45 platoons of police being pressed into service. The district administration also deployed lifeguards to keep constant vigil at the beach and prevent accidents.
Devotees rush to Puri till late evening to witness Snana Purnima. (Source – The Telegraph)