Puri: Debasnana Purnima marks the onset of one of the biggest festivals in the culture of Odisha for the year: the Ratha Jatra. It is an elaborate ritual that revolves around the holy trinity of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra and includes bathing the idols and prepping them up for the chariot festival to be held on June 25, later this year.
The much-awaited Snana Yatra has begun in the holy town san devotees this year. It is being held the full-moon day of the month of Jyestha is the ‘Devasnan Purnima’ or ‘Snana Yatra’.
Celebrated just before the world-renowned Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath in Puri, Deva Snana Purnima is a ritualistic bathing ceremony of the deities of the Jagannath Temple – Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra, and Lord Balabhadra.
As per Skanda Purana, when Raja Indradyumna installed the wooden deities, he arranged this bathing ceremony, and hence, the day is celebrated to bathe the trinity. While Puri attracts thousands of visitors this day, the festival is celebrated in other parts of Orissa as well. The idols of Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra, and Lord Balabhadra are taken out from the Ratnasimhasan of the Jagannath Puri Temple, early in the morning. These idols are brought to the snana bedi or the bathing altar.
The water which is used for bathing the three deities are taken from the well inside the Jagannath Temple. Prior to the bathing ceremony on Devasnana Purnima, a few puja and rituals are performed by the priests, where a total of 108 pitchers of herbal and aromatic water are used to bath the three main deities of the Jagannath Temple.
While the deities are then dressed up in Sada Besha after the bath, the idols of Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra are dressed as Hathi Besha, or in the form of Lord Ganesha later in the day. At night, the three main deities – Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra – retire to the Anasar House. During this Anasara period, the devotees are forbidden to see the idols of the Lord, which appear for public viewing only after 15 days, on the day just before the famous Rath Yatra.