Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Popular Hera Panchami festival will be observed with all the rituals in Puri today. Hera Panchami ritual depicts the scene in which Goddess Laxmi gets angry with Lord Jagannath and the way she vents her anger.

As per Odia culture, wives often get upset with their husbands if they come home late. Goddess Laxmi also gets angry with Lord Jagannath for remaining away from Srimandir for so many days during the Rath Yatra and not taking her along with his siblings.

As per the age-old tradition, after the completion of Maha Snana, Sarbanga, Besha and Bandapana rituals, Goddess Laxmi is carried to the Gundicha temple in a palanquin by servitors with great pomp and gaiety and a grand procession via Bada Danda.

Goddess Laxmi’s procession takes a halt near the Nandighosha chariot. She is welcomed with ceremonial offerings. Then she enters the Gundicha temple. On behalf of Lord Jagannath, she receives an ‘Agyan Mala’ (a garland of consent). However, she is not able to enter the Gundicha temple as the door is closed. Goddess Laxmi feels neglected and angry. Being jealous of her husband’s attitude for ignoring her, she asks her servitors to break a part of his chariot in a bid to teach him a lesson.

However, she feels guilty after causing damage to the Nandighosha chariot. So, she secretly returns to Srimandir without any procession and fanfare through Hera Gohiri Sahi.

The Hera Panchami ritual marks the process for Bahuda Jatra (return journey) as the three chariots are turned southward called Dakhina Moda.