Puri: The auspicious wedding ceremony of Lord Jagannath and Goddess Rukmini is scheduled to be held inside Puri Srimandir today.
Marriage of Lord Krushna and Goddess Rukmini is celebrated on Jyeshtha Sukla Ekadasi i.e. the 11th day of bright fortnight of Jyeshtha (May-June). On this occasion, the marriage is held between Lord Madana Mohana as Lord Krushna and Goddess Lakshmi as Goddess Rukmini.
Legend has it that Rukmini, princess of Vidharba, wanted to marry Krishna, but her brother Rukmi, a friend of Kansa, whom the blue-complexioned god had killed, was against it.
Her father, too, believed that Krishna’s cousin Shishupal was a better match. Crestfallen, Rukmini wrote to her beloved to abduct her. However, Shishupal also landed up in Vidharba, hoping to win her hand in marriage.
On Rukmini harana day, while Sakala Dhupa takes place, Madana Mohana is dressed in the Dakshina Ghara. After Sakala Dhupa is over, Sridevi gets the ajna mala and is carried by the Mahajanas to a palanquin placed near Mukti mandapa, from where the Bimana Badus carry Her to the Mahalakshmi temple.
Sridevi is then placed on a cot in the Jagamohana of the Mahalakshmi Temple, where Her Mahasnana is performed with panchamrita. While Sridevi is being dressed, the Tadau Pattanaik (who acts as Lakshmi’s confidante) arrives with a palm leaf sheet (chitau) and a pen.
The Bhitarcha Mahapatra presents the paper and pen to Sridevi and then hands it back to the Tadau, who in turn writes a letter on behalf of Rukmini to Her beloved Krishna, telling Him about Her love. When Madana Mohana is dressed, He is carried into the Pokharia and sits on the Ratna simhasana for the Bhoga Mandapa food offering, then He is carried to the Jagamohana.
The Jaya Vijaya door is closed, while the main Deities are being fanned (alata lagi) inside. The Bhitarcha Mahapatra hands over the letter to Sridevi, sticking it to Her hand with chandan, then one brahmana is chosen to carry the letter to Madana Mohana, who is waiting at the Jagamohana. Here in the Jagamohana, a dialogue (vachanika) takes place between the Puja Panda, the Purana Panda and the Palia Sevaka.
Then Madana Mohana is placed on a chariot and goes to the Vimala shrine where He waits for Rukmini (Sridevi), as Rukmini is expected to arrive at the Vimala shrine to worship the Grama Devi (in the form of Vimala). In the meanwhile Rukmini arrives, accompanied by a Mahari, and worships the Grama Devi. After receiving Vimala’s ajna mala, Rukmini comes out and Madana Mohana (represented by the Bhitarcha Mohapatra) abducts Rukmini and places Her on the chariot, fights with “one lakh kings” (represented by a few Sevakas) and defeats Sishupala in front of Bhubanesvari’s temple, tying Sishupala to his chariot. In the meantime, Baladeva arrives from the Dakshina Ghara, releases Sishupala and returns to the Dakshina Ghara.