Puri: The bathing rituals of the holy trinity began. In all, Lord Balabhadra will be bathed with 33 pots of water, Lord Jagannath with 35, Goddess Subhadra with 22 and Lord Sudarshan with 18 pots.
Earlier 108 pots of water were brought from the Golden well (called ‘Suna Kua’) near Sitala Temple by the Gadabadu Suaras. Called Jala Bije Niti, in a ceremonial procession the water was fetched. During the entire process, all of them cover their mouths with a piece of cloth so as not to contaminate it even with their breath.
The priests had purified the water with Haladi (turmeric), Java (whole rice), Sandal (Chandan), flowers and perfumes. The rituals are accompanied by chanting of Vedic mantras by the priests, kirtana and blowing of conch shells.
Going as per times fixed by the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration, the rituals began at 1.40 am. Following Dhadi Pahandi, the procession to bring the idols from Ratna Singhasan to Snana Bedi was completed by 3.20 am. The Bije ritual where the deities are seated was completed by 3.40 am. After Mangal Alati at 4.20 am, the Snana Besha ended by 5.50 am.
Later today, the Chera Pahanra will be undertaken at 10.30 am followed by Hati Besha in between 11 am to 12 pm.
Owing to the on-going lockdown because of COVID-19 and safety measures, no devotees have been allowed to witness the Snana Yatra celebrations. Millions across the world are glued to television sets and watching the rituals live.