Their Lordships Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan dressed up in Sada Besha
Devasnana Purnima, also Known as Snana Yatra, is a bathing festival celebrated on the Purnima in the month of Jyeshtha, to celebrate the birthday of Lord Jagannatha. This is the first occasion in the year as per the Vaishnav calendar, when the deities Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra, Sudarshan and Madanmohan are brought out from the Jagganath Temple in Puri and taken in a procession to the Snana Bedi.
As per Skanda Purana, when Raja Indradyumna installed the deities, he arranged this bathing ceremony, and since then this day is celebrated. While Puri attracts thousands of devotees for this day, the festival is celebrated in other parts of world too. The deities of Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra, and Lord Balabhadra are taken out from the Ratna simhasan of the Jagannath Puri Temple, early in the morning and are placed on a pedestal called “Snana Bedi” or the bathing altar, outside the temple premises.
The water which is used for bathing the three deities are taken from the well inside the Jagannath Temple. Prior to the bathing ceremony on Devasnana Purnima, a few puja and rituals are performed by the priests. A total of 108 pitchers of herbal and aromatic water are used to bath Their Lordships of the Jagannath Temple.
During the ceremonial bath Their Lordships are dressed up in Sada Besha and after the bath, Their Lordships are adorned with Hathi Besha, or the form of Lord Ganesha later in the day.
Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra of Puri dressed in Hathi Besha
At night, Their Lordships – Jagannath, Baladev and Subhadra – retire to the Anasar House. During this Anasara period, the devotees are allowed to have darshan and the darshan opens for public only after 15 days, on the day just before the famous Rath Yatra.
By merely having ‘darshan’ of Their Lordships on Deva Snana Purnima, devotees free themselves from all their sins and have a blissful life ahead.
Here is complete schedule & timings of the upcoming festivals at Puri temple;
Snana Purnima (June 24): Mangalaparna from 1 am & Pahandi till 4 am Hati Besha from 11 am onwards and Bahuda Pahandi between 5 pm and 8 pm.
Gundicha Yatra (July 12): Pahandi rituals from 8:30 am Chera Panhara: 2 pm and pulling of chariots from 3 pm
Bahuda Yatra (July 20): Pahandi rituals between 12 pm & 2:30 pm Pulling of chariots from 4 pm.
Suna Besha (July 21): Rituals to be conducted between 4 pm and 5: 30 pm
Adhar Pana (July 22) rituals to be completed by 8 pm and the pahandi rituals will begin from 4 pm and completed by 10 pm on Niladri Bije ( July 23).
In Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Srila Prabhupada gives following information about Snāna-yātrā
After the bathing ceremony (snāna-yātrā), Lord Jagannātha apparently becomes sick. He is therefore removed to His private apartment, where no one can see Him. Actually, during this period renovations are made on the body of the Jagannātha Deity. This is called nava-yauvana. During the Ratha-yātrā ceremony, Lord Jagannātha once again comes before the public. Thus for fifteen days after the bathing ceremony, Lord Jagannātha is not visible to any visitors.
- [Cc. Madhya 1.122, purport]
After the bathing ceremony of Śrī Jagannātha, which takes place just a fortnight before the Ratha-yātrā ceremony, the body of the Lord Jagannātha Deity is repainted, and this takes just about a fortnight to complete. This period is called Anavasara. There are many who visit the temple to see Lord Jagannātha regularly every day, and for them His retirement after the bathing ceremony is unbearable. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu felt Lord Jagannātha’s absence from the temple very much.
[Cc. Madhya 11.62]
The word dayitā refers to one who has received the mercy of the Lord. Lord Jagannātha has a number of stalwart servants known as dayitās. These servants do not come from very high-caste families (brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas or vaiśyas), but because they are engaged in the service of the Lord, they have been elevated to a respected position. Thus they are known as dayitās. These servants of Lord Jagannātha take care of the Lord from the day of the Snāna-yātrā up to the time the Lord is carried from the throne to the Ratha car. In the Kṣetra-māhātmya these dayitās are said to come from the śabaras, a caste that keeps and sells pigs. However, among the dayitās there are also many who come from the brāhmaṇa caste. Those dayitās coming from the brāhmaṇa families are called dayitā-patis, or leaders of the dayitās. The dayitā-patis offer food such as sweetmeats to Lord Jagannātha during the anavasara, the resting period after Snāna-yātrā. They also make the early-morning offering of sweetmeats daily. It is said that during the anavasara Lord Jagannātha suffers from fever and that the dayitā-patis offer Him an infusion of drugs represented by fruit juice. It is said that in the beginning Lord Jagannātha was worshiped by the śabaras and was known as the Deity Nīla Mādhava. Later, when the Deity was established in the temple, the Lord became known as Jagannātha. Because the Deities were taken from the śabaras, all the śabara devotees were elevated to the position of dayitās.
[Cc. Madhya 13.8]