Deities on Snana Mandapa; lakhs of devotees to witness holy dip:

Puri: June 20: Devotees from different parts of the state and outside reached Puri on Monday to have a darshan of Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra on Snana Mandap of Shree Jagannath Temple. As per the tradition, the deities have been escorted to Snana Mandapa (bathing altar) in the Temple complex in a ceremonial procession called Pahandi, which got completed at around 8.30 pm. Deities have been installed on the altar ‘Snana Mandapa’ and rituals like Mangala Arati, Mailama and Abakasha have been performed. Then the deities will be dressed in bathing attires and the bathing of the deities in 108 pitchers of aromatic water will begin and finally, the deities will be dressed in elephant attire for ‘Hati Vesha’.

More than lakh devotees already reached Puri to witness the Deva Snana Purnima. As planned, they will have darshan from behind the barricades till late in the night and further, the deities will be taken to ‘Anasara Ghara’ (sick room) where they will stay for a fortnight and get treatment for fever. The temple vaidya will treat deities with herbal medicines. During this period, the deities will remain on fruit diet. Again, Lord will appear for public darshan on the day of ‘Naba Jaubana’, a day prior to Ratha Yatra.

On Saturday night, the daita servitors entered into the Temple and took charge of the deities from regular priests.

Puri district administration has done an elaborate arrangement for the smooth darshan of devotees. 49 platoons of force have been deployed besides 63 police officers for safety and security of pilgrims and the deities.

Report: Sangeeta Mohanty