Puri: Lord Jagannath – the Lord of Universe – appeared in Gajanan Besha or Hati Besha on the Snana Mandap on premises of Srimandir on the auspicious occasion of Deba Snana Purnima today without physical presence of devotees this year too due to COVID pandemic.
Lord Jagannath and His Holy Siblings were adorned with Gajanan Besha after holy shower on the Snana Mandap, situated near Ananda Bazaar on the Jagannath Temple campus in the morning.
The deities were dressed like Lord Ganesh. While Lord Jagannath and Lord Balabhadra were adorned with Gajanan Besha (elephant attire), Goddess Subhadra gave darshan in Padma Besha (Lotus flower attire).
Prior to the Hati Besha, the Jalabhiseka rituals (ceremonial bathing) were conducted by the servitors on the Snana Mandap. As per the schedule, the deities were brought to the Snana Mandap in dhadi pahandi early in the morning. The deities were accorded a ceremonial shower with 108 copper pitchers of aromatic water by the servitors. While Lord Jagannath took shower with 35 pots of water, the servitors poured 33 pots of water on Lord Balabhadra and 22 pots on Goddess Subhadra. Lord Sudarshan had shower with 18 pots of water.
Later, the servitors changed the wet clothes of deities and decorated with flowers and Tulasi (Holy basil). Mudirasta or Mudi Ratha, the representative of Puri King Gajapati Dibya Singh Deb, offered prayer to deities and performed chhera pahanra (sweeping of floor) at the pandal, one of the major rituals, ahead of the Gajanan Besha, with priests chanting hymns.
The costumes of deities for the Hati Besha were prepared by the artisans at Raghaba Das mutt and Gopal Tirtha mutt. The Gajanan Besha of Lords was completed by 12.45 PM.
There is a story behind Gaja or Hati Besha of Lord Jagannath. According to researchers, the Lord of Universe had given darshan to Ganapati Bhatt, a staunch devotee of lord Ganesha, on the Snana Mandap on the auspicious occasion of Snana Purnima.
In 15th century, Pandit Ganapati Bhatt of Mahaganapatya community had visited the centuries old shrine in Puri to have darshan of Lord Jagannath. He witnessed Chaturdha Murti on Snana Mandap on Snana Purnima. However, he could not get satisfaction as he wanted to see Lord Ganesha within Lord Jagannath. While he was on his way back with disappointment, Lord Jagannath disguised as a priest insisted him to return the temple where he can see his Lord Ganesha. When he went back, was overwhelmed to have darshan of his Lord Ganesha within Chaturdha Murti on Snana Mandap. Since that period, the deities are being dressed in Gajanan Besha every year after ceremonial bathing on Jyestha Purnima, which is said to be the birthday of Lord Jagannath.