Snana Purnima: The Grand Bathing Festival – 56 Bhog Celebration at Shri Jagannath Mandir Thyagraj Nagar, Delhi

Introduction

Snana Purnima, also known as Deba Snana Purnima, is a significant and auspicious festival in the Jagannath cult. It marks the first occasion in the year when the idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Goddess Subhadra are brought out of the Jagannath Temple in Puri for a public bathing ceremony. This festival, celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Jyeshtha (May-June), is an important precursor to the Rath Yatra.

Historical and Mythological Significance

According to mythology, Snana Purnima commemorates the divine bathing ceremony of Lord Jagannath and his siblings. It is believed that the deities take this ritualistic bath to honor their devotees and to cleanse themselves before embarking on the annual Rath Yatra. The festival is mentioned in ancient scriptures and holds a vital place in the cultural and religious traditions of Odisha.

Rituals of Snana Purnima

The rituals of Snana Purnima are elaborate and filled with spiritual significance:

  1. Pahandi Bije
    • Early in the morning, the deities are brought out from the sanctum sanctorum of the Jagannath Temple to the Snana Mandap (bathing altar) in a grand procession known as Pahandi Bije. Priests and devotees carry the idols amidst chanting, drum beats, and blowing of conch shells.
  2. Snana Vedi
    • The deities are placed on the Snana Vedi, a specially constructed platform within the temple premises. This platform is beautifully decorated with flowers and other adornments.
  3. Sacred Bathing
    • The main ritual involves bathing the idols with 108 pitchers of ritually purified water drawn from the golden well, Suna Kua, within the temple complex. This water is sanctified with turmeric, sandalwood, and various herbs. The bathing ceremony is accompanied by the chanting of hymns and mantras.
  4. Hati Besha
    • After the bath, the deities are dressed in elephant attire, known as Hati Besha or Gajanana Besha. This special attire resembles Lord Ganesha and is a rare and unique sight, as the deities are adorned with elaborate costumes and jewelry.
  5. Anavasara
    • Following the bathing ceremony, the deities are believed to fall ill due to the extensive bath and are kept away from public view for a period of 15 days. This period of seclusion is known as Anavasara. During this time, the deities are offered special herbal medicines and taken care of by the temple priests.
  6. Netrotsava
    • The end of the Anavasara period is marked by Netrotsava or the rejuvenation of the eyes. This ritual involves painting and decorating the eyes of the deities, preparing them for their grand appearance during the Rath Yatra.

Cultural Significance

Snana Purnima is not only a religious event but also a cultural spectacle. Thousands of devotees from all over the world gather in Puri to witness this grand ceremony. The festival showcases the rich heritage, traditions, and rituals associated with Lord Jagannath and the Jagannath Temple.

Conclusion

Snana Purnima is a deeply revered and celebrated festival that holds immense spiritual significance for devotees of Lord Jagannath. It marks the beginning of the Rath Yatra festivities and is a testament to the enduring traditions and rich cultural heritage of Odisha. The elaborate rituals and the fervent devotion of the participants make Snana Purnima a unique and unforgettable event in the Hindu calendar.

 

Let’s Celebrate this Yatra with Family and Friends at Shri Jagannath Mandir, Thyagraj Nagar

Know more about Rath Yatra Mahotsav 2024 at Shri Jagannath Mandir, Thyagraj Nagar, Delhi

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