Thousands of devotees take part in bathing festival of deities at Puri's Jagannath temple

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Puri (Orissa), June 26(ANI): Thousands of devotees on Saturday took part in the annual Deva Snana Poornima at the famed temple of Jagannath in Puri, Orissa.

Deva Snanna Poornima is observed with utmost devotion and fanfare ahead of the annual chariot festival known as the Ratha Yatra.

On this full moon day, the deities of Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra are taken out of the temple in a ceremonial procession to the Snana Mandap (bathing canopy) located in the outer enclosure of the temple.

This ritual consists of bathing the deities with 108 pitchers of perfumed water drawn from the well of Sitala temple.

The deities are bathed and dressed up before being offered the Bhog (food) in full public view.

"This is a unique bathing ceremony of the lords. Throughout the year the three deities, they take Mantra Snana that is there are three mirrors kept in front of the three deities inside garbhgrom (sanctorum) and Panchamrat (concoction of five items - milk, ghee, honey, sugar and curds, reckoned as nectar) is being poured on these three mirrors. They take bath accordingly," said Satya Swarup, a priest of the Jagannath Temple.

"But today, all the three deities take bath in 108 pots of water," he added.

It is believed that Lord Jagannath suffers from 'cold' and 'fever' following the long bathing ceremony, and after the Snana Yatra, the images of the deities are kept away from public view for fifteen days for 'treatment', which once again involves specific rituals being performed.

It is also known as Anabasara, meaning improper time for worship. All the daily rituals at the temple remain suspended till the deities recover from illness.

It is believed that this occasion is sacred and if one can see the lord on the Snana Mandap, the devotee attains salvation.

"I feel like ecstatic, I feel joy, I feel love and particularly all the devotees have come and that mood is also eagerly moving, moving and moving," said Andri, a visitor from abroad.

This year, the world famous Ratha Yatra of decorated wooden chariots will be held between July 13 and 21.

The festival marks the annual journey of the three deities from the 12th century temple, located 56 kilometres from the main temple.

Earlier, a three-tier security blanket was put in place at Puri to ensure smooth conduct of the Snana Poornima. (ANI)

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