Puri Rath Yatra 2020: Know The Essence Of Hera Panchami

Puri: Lord Vishnu’s incarnation of Sri Jagannath is unique for the reason that the rituals related to him or the Srimandir are very similar to that of humans. One such ritual is Hera Panchami, where Goddess Laxmi comes to secretly meet Lord Jagannath and upon failure breaks his chariot.

On the day of Rath Yatra, Lord Jagannath with his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra leave for their yearly sojourn; leaving behind his consort Goddess Laxmi. The popular belief is that Lord Jagannath had promised his wife Goddess Mahalaxmi that he will return the next day. But Lord Jagannath does not return the next day.

Goddess Mahalaxmi waits and unable to bear the separation decides to meet Lord Jagannath on the fifth day, i.e. on Hera Panchami.

As Goddess Lakshmi is exempted from travelling with Lord Jagannath to the Gundicha Temple, she gets angry with her husband. On a suggestion by Goddess Bimala, who is Lord Jagannath’s Tantric consort and guardian of Jagannath Tempe, Goddess Lakshmi secretly visits Gundicha Temple at late night to catch a glimpse of the Lord.

But Lord Jagannath is there along with his siblings, he is surrounded by servitors and devotees and never gets a chance to meet his wife. Annoyed at this, Goddess Lakshmi throws “Moha Churna” (a herb in powder form given to her by Goddess Bimala) on her husband for his early return to Srimandir.

After this act, the Pati Mahapatra – a representative of Lord Jagannath – offers an “Agyan Mala” (a garland of the consent) on behalf of Lord Jagannath to Goddess Lakshmi, assuring her of his return to Srimandir or Jagannath Temple after three days.

However, upon being denied a meeting with her husband, Goddess Mahalaxmi feels insulted. To teach her husband a lesson, she asks her servitors to break a part of Nandighosa Rath, the chariot of Lord Jagannath. On her return, she avoids the direct route via Bada Danda and secretly returns to the Srimandir via Hera Gohiri Sahi.

This year, amid strict COVID-19 guidelines, the Hera Panchami rituals will be sans devotees. The Rath Yatra and the preceding rituals too happened without any devotees and only in the presence of selective servitors and police officials. All of them were only allowed entry after testing negative for COVID-19.