Snana Purnima – Snan Poornima bathing ceremony at Puri Jagannath Temple

Snana Poornima, or Snan Purnima, is an important ritual before the world famous Rath Yatra at the Puri Jagannath Temple. In 2015, the date of Snana Purnima is June 2. Snan Purnima is bathing ceremony of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra – the deities worshipped at the Jagannath Temple. The ceremony is held in traditional style and grandeur and is a much anticipated ritual.

On the day of the Snana Poornima ceremony, the idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra are escorted out of the Ratnasimhasan from the sanctum sanctorum of the Puri Jagannath temple early in the morning.

The deities are brought to the Snan Bedi (bathing altar) amidst chanting of mantras and to the sounds of drums, cymbals, bugles and ghantas. This is known as the Pahandi procession.

The water for bathing the deities is brought from the well inside the Jagannath Temple. After few rituals, a total of 108 pitchers of aromatic and herbal water are used to bath the deities.

After the bathing ceremony the deities are dressed in Sada Besha and in the afternoon they are dressed as Hathi Besha – in the form of Lord Ganesha.

After a public Bhog (Prasad), the deities appear in the evening for Sahanamela – public viewing.

The deities will retire at late night to the Anasar house in the temple complex and will appear before public only 15 days later – the day before the Rath Yatra. Legend has it that after the ritualistic bath, the deities get fever and appear reenergized after 15 days of solitary confinement.