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  4. Snana Purnima: Know everything about the holy bathing ceremony of Lord Jagganath in Puri before Rath Yatra

Snana Purnima: Know everything about the holy bathing ceremony of Lord Jagganath in Puri before Rath Yatra

Snana Purnima is not just a ritual; it is a celebration of faith, devotion, and spirituality. It is a reminder that no matter how different we may seem on the outside, we are all united in our devotion to the divine.

Written By: Kristina Das @https://twitter.com/KristinaDas2 New Delhi Published on: June 22, 2024 16:32 IST
Snana Purnima in Puri
Image Source : SOCIAL Know everything about Snana Purnima 2024.

Every corner of India has its distinct customs and rituals, each holding a deep spiritual significance. One such tradition that has been celebrated for centuries is Snana Purnima, also known as Deba Snana Purnima. This auspicious occasion falls on the full moon day in the Hindu month of Jyeshtha, which usually falls in June. It is a significant ritual performed at the Jagannath Temple in Puri, Odisha, before the grand Rath Yatra festival. This year, the holy ceremony is being celebrated on June 22. 

Snana Purnima is a holy bathing ceremony of Lord Jagannath, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra. It marks the beginning of the annual chariot festival or Rath Yatra, which is one of the most famous and grandest festivals in India. The ritual has a deep-rooted spiritual significance and attracts thousands of devotees from all over the world.

The Legend behind Snana Purnima:

According to Hindu mythology, King Indradyumna, an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu, wanted to build a magnificent temple for the Lord. He was instructed by Narada Muni to carve three idols out of logs found on the shores of Puri. The king followed the instructions and carved idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Goddess Subhadra.

However, there is a belief that these idols are incomplete without the 'Brahma Padartha,' a divine essence that gives life to the deities. It is believed that every twelve years, Lord Brahma himself visits the Jagannath Temple in Puri and performs a secret ritual to transfer this essence to the idols, giving them life.

The Rituals of Snana Purnima:

The Snana Purnima ritual starts with the idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Goddess Subhadra being brought out of the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) of the temple in a grand procession. The deities are then placed on a special platform known as 'Snana Bedi' in the outer courtyard of the temple.

The deities are then bathed with 108 pitchers of aromatic and holy water, which is believed to cure all ailments and purify the mind, body, and soul. This water is made by mixing sandalwood paste, camphor, and various herbs and flowers. The devotees believe that taking a dip in this holy water on Snana Purnima will wash away all their sins and bring them closer to the divine.

The ritual is performed by a group of priests known as 'Pandas,' who are the descendants of the original sculptors of the idols. The priests chant sacred mantras and offer various items like flowers, fruits, and sweets to the deities during the bathing ceremony.

After the first round of bathing, the deities are taken inside the temple for a special ritual known as 'Hati Besha.' During this ritual, the deities are dressed in elephant-like attire, and it is believed that this form symbolizes Lord Vishnu's ten avatars.

The second round of bathing is known as 'Gaja Vesha.' The deities are adorned with gold ornaments and dressed in lion-like attire. This form represents Lord Jagannath's lion incarnation, Narasimha.

After the second round of bathing, the idols are taken back to their respective chambers for 15 days. This time is known as 'Anavasara' when the deities are believed to fall sick due to a cold bath. The temple remains closed during this time, and the deities are given special herbal treatments to recover.

The Grand Finale on Rath Yatra:

After 15 days, the deities are brought back to the Snana Bedi for the grand finale of the ritual. This is known as 'Hera Panchami' when Lord Jagannath, accompanied by his siblings, goes on a procession to Goddess Gundicha's temple, located about 3 km away from the Jagannath Temple. This ritual marks the beginning of the Rath Yatra festival.

ALSO READ: Heading to Ayodhya's Ram Mandir? 5 key things to keep in mind

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