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Lakshmi anger rocks Gundicha temple

Bhubaneswar, June 25: The trio of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra are enjoying their stay at their aunt’s place in Gundicha temple during their vacation that began with the rath yatra.

Around the same time, Goddess Lakshmi, who was not taken along for the vacation, showed her anger during the Hera Panchami rituals today by trying to break the Nandighosha chariot outside Gundicha temple.

Hera Panchami is observed on the fifth day of the rath yatra with rituals that have special significance in the nine-day festival.

On the auspicious occasion, Goddess Lakshmi, wife of Lord Jagannath, pays a visit to him at the Gundicha temple to request him to come back to the Jagannath temple.

To represent Goddess Lakshmi, the idol of Subarna Mahalakshmi is carried to the Gundicha temple from the Jagannath temple on a palanquin in a grand procession by the servitors. The priests at the Gundicha temple received the goddess and felicitated her after which she is escorted to the sanctum.

“In Odia, hera means ‘to see’. That is why, the ritual of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Jagannath seeing each other on the fifth day from the rath yatra is known as Hera Panchami. It is a very special ritual for the devotees,” said Jagannath culture expert Surya Narayan Rathasharma.

“The Goddess is seated in front of Lord Jagannath in the sanctum where she is offered special prayers by servitor Pati Mohapatra. The ritual represents the request of the Goddess to Lord Jagannath to return to the temple. As a reply, Lord Jagannath gives an agyan mala (a garland of consent) which the goddess carries on her way back to her temple,” he said.

But while returning in the evening, following the goddess’ wish, one of her servitors breaks a portion of the Nandighosha (Lord Jagannath’s chariot), which is known as the Ratha Bhanga Neeti.

“As the Goddess is upset about the fact that her husband left her behind and went on a vacation with his siblings, she wishes to show her anger. After breaking a portion of the chariot, her idol is first carried to a tamarind tree outside the Gundicha temple behind which she hides for some time. Then she is carried to the Jagannath temple through a secret passage in the Hera Gohri Lane to avoid any fuss because of the attack on the chariot,” said Rathasharma.

Devotees vie to get a glimpse of Lord Jagannath and Goddess Subarna Mahalakshmi when they seat in front of each other on the porch in the sanctum of Gundicha temple.

“It is a divine feeling to see such a personal moment of the lords. I feel blessed to have got a chance to see the rare ritual,” said Ashis Sabat, a devotee.