Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

The annual bathing rituals of the ‘Chaturdha Murti’ (quaternity)--Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Sudarshana were carried out in Puri amid a large number of devotees.

The ritual marks the beginning of the annual world-famous Rath Yatra festival.

The servitors bathed the deities with 108 pitchers of water drawn from a well called the ‘Suna Kua’ at Srimandir premises.

Live Updates: Lord Jagannath & siblings take divine bath

The Trinity will then be decked up in the ‘Gajanana’ or ‘Ganesha Vesha' (elephant attire) or as part of the grand ritual. Later, they would give the free public darshan to the deities.

After the ‘Snana Yatra’, the sibling deities will be kept away from public view for 15 days, a period during which they are believed to develop fever due to excessive bathing.

After a hiatus of two years due to the upsurge of Covid-19, devotees in large numbers thronged the holy town to have a glimpse of the deities on ‘Snana Bedi’.

As part of the ‘Snana Yatra’ rituals, after the completion of ‘Mangalarpana’, the ‘Pahandi bije’ ritual started at around 4 am. The temple servitors took the holy Trinity along with Lord Sudarshan in ‘Dhadi Pahandi’. While Lord Sudarshan was the first to get escorted to the ‘Snana bedi’, he was followed by Lord Balabhadra, Goddess Subhadra and Lord Jagannath. The deities were placed on ‘Snana Vedi’ at around 6 am.

In fact, this is the first of the 12 major festivals associated with the Trinity. Scriptures say this is the day when Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra were born. Therefore, this is the birth festival of the Lord.

When the sun beats down with all its fury in the month of Jyestha, the Holy Trinity with Lord Sudarshan ventures out of the Ratna Singhasana on to the Snana Bedi to receive the grandest and holiest bath in the universe ever amidst crowds of devotees.

There is a general belief that anybody who gets a vision of the Lord on this day, he or she will be washed away of all his/her sins. Therefore, it attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over the world.