Thousands witness Snana Yatra

Puri: Thousands of devotees from various parts of the country converged in the temple town of Puri on Sunday to witness Snana Yatra or the bathing ritual of three deities – Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra. 
The ritual precedes the world famous Rath Yatra or popularly known as Chariot festival which this year will be observed on July 10.
As part of the ritual, the deities were taken out of the Ratna Vedi (sanctum sanctorum) of the 12th century shrine to the Snana Mandapa (bathing altar) inside the temple premises by servitors in a ceremonial procession amid chanting of hymns and beating drums including drums and cymbals.
As per tradition, after completion of Mangala Aalati and other rituals, the Trinity was bathed in 108 pitchers of aromatic water drawn out from a well known as golden well situated near the Shitala Devi temple at the North Gate of Srimandir. 
Prior to the ceremony, sandal paste and other medicinal items were also added to sanctify the water. 
While Lord Jagannath was poured with 35 pitchers of water, Lord Balabhadra was offered 33 pitchers and Devi Subhadra with 22 pitchers of water. The servitors bathed Sudarshan with 18 pitchers of aromatic water.
Subsequently, Hatibesa (elephant attire) of the deities will be organised on the same day. 
The deities will then be taken to ‘sick room’ where they will be treated for a fortnight. Legend says, the Trinity after having bathe will suffer from fever and they will be treated by temple doctors with herbal medicines.
To avoid any untoward situation, the district administration has deployed 45 platoons of force and anti-terrorist squads in the city.