Puri: Thousands of devotees thronged Jagannath Temple on Monday here to witness rituals of Snan Purnima or Hati Besa of Lord Jagannath and His siblings, the prelude to Rath Yatra, which begins on July 4.
On the auspicious occasion, Lord Jagannath and His siblings, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra, and Sudarsan were given a ceremonial holy bath.
Earlier this morning, the three deities were carried out of the sanctum sanctorum of the 12th century Jagannath Temple to Snan Mandap (Bathing altar) situated near Ananda Bazaar facing the Grand Road on the temple premises and were bathed with 108 pitchers of scented water.
Of these, 35 pots of sacred water were poured on Lord Jagannath while Lord Balabhadra was bathed with 33, Goddess Subhadra with 22 and Sudarshan 18.
After the holy bath completed, Puri king Gajapati Dibyasingh Deb, lord’s first servitor, arrived at the temple in a procession and conducted the Chhera pahanra (sweeping) ritual on the floor where the deities were seated.
Following it, the idols were decked up in Gaja Besa or the elephant avatar.
After the holy bath, the deities fall sick and remain in hibernation known as Anasara Ghara for 15 days. During this period, servitors treat them with various kinds of healing herbs and preparations. The deities are out of bounds for devotees during this period.
After the fever abates, the deities will give darshan to devotees on the sanctum sanctorum just a day before the Rath yatra which is known as Nabajouban Besa.
On the Rath Yatra day, the Holy Trinity set out for their aunt’s place – Gundicha temple – in a grand procession.
Security was beefed up to avoid any untoward incident during the Snan Yatra in Puri.