Puri: Probably for the first time in the history of Puri Srimandir, the Snana Purnima festival of Lord Jagannath, his sibling deities and Chakraraj Sudarshan has begun this year without the usual fanfare and footfall of lakhs of devotees in the ancient town due to nationwide lockdown in wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
Snana Purnima which falls on the full moon day of Jyestha month is a prelude to the annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath. As per tradition, the Gods are believed to fall sick after taking the divine bath with 108 pitchers of aromatic and herbal water. They recuperate from the illness during the next fortnight in a secret chamber called Anasara Ghara and reappear for Rath Yatra.
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Year-long cycle of festivals at Puri Srimandir begins from the Snana Purnima, the birthday of Lord Jagannath. As a custom, Kalia Thakura & his sibling deities adorn Hati Besha as per a belief that every Hindu religious rite begins with worship of Lord Ganesh.
After having a grand bath with 108 pitchers of scented water, the Lords get ready to adorn Hati Besha, also known as the (elephant avatar), one of the rare appearances of the Holy Trinity.
Prior to it, Mudirasta, the representative of Puri King Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb performs the ceremonial sweeping of the Snana Mandap, the process called Chhera Panhara.
Divine bathing of the Holy Trinity begins at Puri Srimandir. Servitors bathe Lord Jagannath with 35 pots of scented water, Lord Balabhadra 33 pots, Devi Subhadra 22 & Shri Sudarsan with 18 pots of water.
Servitors bring pots filled with aromatic water to 'Snana Mandap' for the royal bath of divine siblings.
Divine bath of Holy Trinity to begin shortly after servitors fetch a total of 108 pitchers of aromatic water from Suna Kua (well) near Sitala Mandir to Snana Bedi. The holy water is prepared using Chua, Agura, Chandan & purified with Sodasa Upachara.
Mangal Alati of the Holy Trinity was performed at 4.20 am followed by Mailam at 4.35 am and Tadapalagi. The Adhara Pochha of the Gods was also completed on time.
First, Lord Sudarshana, then Balabhadra, then Subhadra and lastly Lord Jagannath were taken out from the Inner Sanctum.
As per the tradition, the three deities along with Lord Sudarsan were brought out from the 12th-century shrine on ‘Dhadi Pahandi’. The procession rituals began at 1.40 am and continued till 3.10 am.
The Mangalarpan of the Holy Trinity was conducted at around 1.25 am followed by Dori Lagi, the customary fitting of rope on the deities for their procession.