Bhubaneswar: Thousands of devotees from across Odisha and outside congregate in the Holy City of Puri in Odisha to witness the Snana Jatra of Lord Jagannath and his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra.
The devotees braved extreme hot and humid weather to have a glimpse of the deities on the Snana Mandap (bathing altar) on the premises of Srimandir.
The deities were taken to the Snana Mandap from the sanctum sanctorum of the 12th century shrine through the ceremonial Pahandi procession in the morning.
Servitors of Srimandir drew 108 pitchers of holy water from Suna Kua (Golden Temple) on the temple premises for performance of the Debasnana Purnima (bathing) ritual. They added herbal and aromatic essence to the water before pouring in on the deities at Snana Bedi.
The bathing ritual of the deities was performed soon after the completion of other rituals like Dwarapala Puja, Surya Puja, Rosahoma, Abakasa, Adharapochha and Mailam, said a servitor.
Gajapati king Dibyasingha Deb performed Chhera Panhara ritual at Snana Mandap immediate after the bathing ritual, he added.
After the completion of Chhera Panhara, the deities were adorned with Hati Besa (elephant attire) at the Snana Bedi.
As per the tradition, Lord Jagannath and his siblings are given a ceremonial bath on the occasion of Debasnana Purnima.
As per the belief, the deities catch fever soon after the bathing ritual. The ailing deities are taken to Anasara Gruha (isolation room) for their medication, said a religious scholar.
“The deities usually undergo medication for 14 days at Anasara Gruha. The devotees are not allowed to visit the deities in these 14 days. Upon their recovery from fever, the deities reappear before the devotees on the occasion of Nabajauban Darshan,” he added.
The district administration installed barricades and sheds on the Grand Road from the Market Square to the 12th century shrine for the convenience of the devotees. The shops along the Grand Road from the Market Square to the palace of Gajapati King have been closed from June 3 to 5 to avoid rush near the temple, said an official.
The state government deployed as many as 60 platoons of police force in Puri city for smooth conduct of the Snana Jatra.
Three commandants, 100 supervisory officers and 300 Sub-Inspectors/ Assistant Sub-Inspectors were deployed to oversee the security arrangements, sources said.