Puri: As a prelude to the famous Rath Yatra at Puri, the Holy ‘Snana Yatra‘ of Lord Jagannath and his sibling deities will take place tomorrow.

It will be the first occasion this year, as per the Hindu calendar, when the Lords will be brought out from the temple in a procession to Snana Mandap.

The deities will be bathed, decorated with ‘Hati Besha’ (elephant costume) and kept for public darshan. The Snana Yatra, also known as Deba Snana Purnima, is one of the most important yatras at the famous Puri Jagannath in Odisha.

Ahead of the holy Snana Yatra, Darshan for devotees was restricted for few hours at the Puri Srimandir today in view of the secret ritual of ‘Senapatta’.

The preparations are in full swing at the Raghav Das Matha and Gopal Tirtha Matha ahead of the Snana Purnima.

Snana Yatra

It is a sacred bathing festival held on the full-moon day (purnima) of Jyestha month. Devotees believe that all their sins get washed away if they get a sight of Lord Jagannath on this holy day, attracting thousands of pilgrims from all over the world.

The bathing platform is situated to the north-east of Ananda Bazar and besides the outer wall of the temple (Meghanada Pacheri).

It is at such a height that visitors standing outside the temple can also get a clear view of the Deities.

Jalabhisheka

As many as 108 pots of water are fetched from the Suna Kua (Golden well) only once a year in this ceremonial procession.

In a ceremonial procession to fetch 108 pots of water from the Golden well (Suna Kua). The holy water is drawn from this well once a year. All the pots are then preserved in the Bhoga Mandap and purified by the priests with Haldi (turmeric), Java (whole rice), Chandan (Sandalwood), flowers and perfumes.

The filled and purified water pots are then carried from Bhoga Mandap to the bathing platform by the Suaras in a long single line queue. This ritual is called ‘Jalabhisheka’.

Hati Besha

After the bathing ritual, the deities assume a special elephant form which is otherwise known as ‘Hati Besha’. Lord Jagannatha and Lord Balaram dressed like an elephant, and Goddess Subhadra wears a lotus flower Besha. Anasara:

The deities are supposed to fall ill and do not return to their pedestal just after the Snana yatra and they are kept in a special sick room, inside the temple, called the ‘ansara‘.

They stay away from the public view for a period of 15 days and this period is known as ‘Anabasara’ or ‘Anasara’. They are offered only fruits and water, mixed with cheese and Dasamula medicines, during this period to cure the fever.

The Deities are treated by the Raj Vaidya (the King’s physician) with specific medicines (Dasamulas). During all these days the daily rites of the temple remain suspended.

Due to the sacred bath with 108 pitchers of water, the colours painted on the images fade out. The Daitas repaint the images with new colours as the colours painted on the images fade out due to the sacred bath with 108 pitchers of water.

On the 16th day, the deities appear in their new forms after they become ready for the public view.