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Hera Panchami during Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra at Gundicha Temple

Hera Panchami is a unique ritual held during the Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra at the Gundicha Temple. In 2018, the date of Hera Panchami is July 17. Hera means to ‘see’ and Panchami means the ‘fifth day’ – on Hera Panchami day Goddess Lakshmi travels to the Gundicha Temple to see Lord Jagannath. The visit of Goddess Lakshmi takes place five days after the Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra.

During the Puri Rath Yatra, the chariots (Ratha) carrying Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are pulled from the Puri Jagannath Temple to the Gundicha Temple, here the deities visit their aunt.

The popular belief is that Lord Jagannath had promised his wife Goddess Lakshmi that He will return the next day. But Lord Jagannath does not return the next day. Goddess Lakshmi waits and waits and finally on the fifth day she goes to Gundicha Temple on a palanquin and sees the Ratha of Lord Jagannath outside Gundicha Temple.

The people who follow the palanquin of Goddess Lakshmi sing the Hera Panchami song The Hera Panchami song expresses Goddess Lakshmi's anger. At the end of the ritual a small piece of Lord Jagannath’s chariot is broken and Goddess Lakshmi returns in anger.