One of the interesting rituals associated with Rath Yatra is 'Adhara Pana' which was observed atop the three chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Devi Subhadra parked near the Lion's Gate (Singhadwar) on Friday.
In fact, this unique ritual is observed on Asadha Shukla Pakhya Dwadashi tithi, before the 'Niladree Bije' and after the 'Suna Besha'.
The uniqueness of the ritual lies in the fact that each deity is offered a sweet drink (pana) from three huge cylindrical earthen pots on their respective chariot and no devotee will be allowed to taste it, let alone having it.
As per the age-old tradition, the pots are made by the potters of Kumbharpada and they are arranged by Shree Jagannath Temple Administration, Raghab Das Mutt and Bada Odia Mutt.
Each of the pots contains a drink prepared from milk, sugar, banana and some spices. As per tradition, the SJTA and Raghab Das Mutt arrange all the ingredients for preparing the drink.
After the completion of Sodasha Upachara Puja, the aromatic drink is offered to the deities on their respective chariots. The cylindrical pots are so kept as to reach the lips of the deities.
The portmanteau of the ritual ‘Adhara Pana’ is ‘Adhara’, which means lip, and ‘Pana’, which means sweet drink.
After the drink is offered to the deities, the servitors purposefully smash the pots so that the drink spills over the chariots. The belief behind this smashing of pots is that the drink is not for human consumption.
It is only for the subsidiary deities on the chariots who guard Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra during their journey. It is also believed that evil spirits, ghostly bodies and dissatisfied souls consume it to attain salvation.