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regular-article-logo Monday, 15 July 2024

Thousands throng Puri for Lord Jagannath's shower ahead of Rath Yatra

The State administration deployed around 68 platoons of police force to ensure that devotees have a hassle-free darshan of the deities

Subhashish Mohanty Puri Published 23.06.24, 06:35 AM
Deities at the Snana Mandap in the Puri Shree Jagannath Temple on Saturday.

Deities at the Snana Mandap in the Puri Shree Jagannath Temple on Saturday. Sarat Kumar Patra

Thousands of devotees on Saturday thronged the Puri Shree Jagannath Temple to witness the rituals of Deba Snana Purnima.

The rituals marked the beginning of the process for the Rath Yatra, scheduled to be held on July 7.

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Lord Jagannath and his siblings — Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra — are ceremoniously carried to the Snana Bedi (the bathing platform) in a grand procession from the sanctum santorum, a distance of about 100 metres, during the Deba Snana Purnima. They are bathed with 108 pitchers of water mixed with coconut water and extractsof various aromatic herbs. The ritual is observed toprovide them relief from thesummer heat.

Thousands of devotees lined up at the crack of dawn on Saturday to see Lord Jagannath and his siblings at the Snana Mandap. Chief minister Mohan Charan Majhi also turned up to have a darshan of the deities. All the senior officials, including chief secretary P.K. Jena, were camping in Puri to ensure the darshan rituals went smoothly.

In the afternoon, Puri witnessed heavy rain for 45 minutes and once the rain stopped, the number of devotees swelled in the pilgrim town. “It’s a coincidence that every year during the Snana Purnima, the rain pours on the pilgrim city. It’s a rare experience to have the darshan of the deities in the Snana Mandap. The deities were decked up in Gaja Vesha (elephant attire),” said Hector Mishra, a resident of Puri.

Following the bathing ritual, the deities fall sick for 14 days, during which they are treated by the sevayats (the servitors) with various kinds of healing herbs and preparations. They remain confined to the sanctum sanctorum and devotees are not allowed for darshan during this time. This post-ritual period is a crucial part of the Deba Snana Purnima, as it symbolises the deities’ recovery and rejuvenation.

After the 14-day period, the Lord and his siblings embark on a nine-day sojourn, popularly known as the Rath Yatra.

The State administration deployed around 68 platoons of police force to ensure that devotees have a hassle-free darshan of the deities.

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