Devasnana Purnima is a special part of the famous Car Festival, Puri. The day is believed to be the birthday of Lord Jagannath. The day is the full moon day of the month of Jyestha, the deities are bathed by 108 pitchers of water of the well situated near the Sitala temple in the confines of the Jagannath temple. After been bathed, the deities are dressed up in the Ganesha or Gajanana or Hati Vesha. After the bath, the daily food offering (Bhogalagi) is made on the Snanamandapa, in a full public view, without keeping any kind of virtual difference between the devotees and the Lord Jagannath, popularly known as Lord Krishna.
These traditions are followed before the legendary Car Festival or Ratha Yatra celebration. The rituals performed in the festival are maintained in the ‘Niladri Mohadaya’, a religious text written in the Odia language. Devasnana Purnima or Snana Yatra, exclusively being the festival of Lord Jagannath, is believed to be one of the oldest festivals. As per the Skanda Purana, Raja Indradyumna set this bathing ceremony when he installed the wooden deities here. Apart from Puri, the festival is simultaneously observed all over India and in many foreign cities.
Car festival is celebrated every year on the 2nd day of Shukla Paksha (waxing cycle of the moon) in the month of Asadh, the 3rd month according to the lunar calendar of India. Puri Yatra has always been popular among tourists due to its religious associations. Millions of devotees across the globe visit Puri and take part in the celebrations full of enthusiasm. The Rath Yatra or Chariot festival, one of the much-awaited Hindu festivals, honors Lord Jagannath’s visit along with his siblings – Lord Balbhadra and deity Shubhadra – to the temple of Queen Gundicha. As many as three new splendid chariots are created for the elegant Rath Yatra Puri (the journey) of the Gods – Lord Jagannath and his siblings – every year. With Ratha Yatra or the Chariot festival a month away, the Rath-making process is in full swing in the Bada Danda.
On the graceful day of the festive, when these 45-feet high idols are pulled by millions of devotees gathered here across the globe. During the Rath Yatra Puri, the caravan of Lord Jagannath, on the way, stops at their maternal aunt’s place – Mausima temple – to take the meal of sweet pancakes, Jagannath’s favorite dish as said. The bejeweled chariots come back to the temple in the same way. During his journey, Lord Jagannath is accompanied also by the celestial wheel called Sudarshan Chakra.
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