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Snana Jatra (Birth of Lord Jagannath)

Snana JatraCelebrated on the full moon day of Jyestha (May-June) to mark the birth day of the Lord, the Snana Jatra is a grand ritual associated with the Lord Jagannath of Puri which is watched with devotion by thousands of devotees. According to Skanda Purana when King Indradyumna installed the wooden deities he arranged this bathing ceremony. This day is considered to be the birth-day of Lord Jagannath.

On this day, the deities; Lord Jagannatha, Balbhadra and Subhadra along with Lord Madan Mohan and Sudarshan are taken out in a colorful procession. This is called the Pahandi Vijay. At the end of the procession the idols are placed on a Snana Vedi on the outer enclosure of the Jagannath temple. Here the holy ritual of bathing takes place. For this 108 pitchers of water are drawn from a nearby well close to the Northern Entrance. In the evening,after the conclusion of the bathing ritual, Jagannath and Balabhadra are dressed up in elephant headgear representing the God Ganesh. This is the famed Ganesh Besha or Haati Besha.

After the Snana Yatra the Gods are traditionally believed to fall ill and are kept in a sick room to recuperate in privacy under the care of the Raj Vaidya, The Royal Physician of the King of Puri. It is said that with the Ayurvedic medication administered by the Raj Vaidya the Gods recover in a fortnight and resume giving an audience to their devotees.

 

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