The famous Snana Yatra of Lord Jagannath has begun in Puri today. Snana Yatra is a ceremonial grand shower festival celebrated on the Purnima (full moon day) of the Hindu month of Jyeshtha. This is the first occasion in the year as per the Hindu calendar, when the deities Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra, Sudarshan, and Madanmohan are brought out from the Jagannath Temple (Puri) and taken in a procession to the Snana Mandap inside the temple premises.
They are ceremonially bathed in 108 pots of ritually purified water and decorated for a public audience.The Skanda Purana mentions that King Indradyumna arranged this ceremony for the first time when the idols of the deities were first installed. In the evening, at the conclusion of the bathing ritual, Jagannath and Balabhadra are dressed up in elephant headgear representing the God Ganesh. This form of the God is called the ‘Gajavesha’.
After the Snana Yatra the Gods are traditionally believed to fall ill and are kept in a sick room to recuperate in privacy under the care of the Raj Vaidya. During this period known as Anasara the Gods cannot be seen by devotees. At this time three pata chitra paintings are displayed for devotees to view instead It is said that with the Ayurvedic medication administered by the Raj Vaidya the Gods recover in a fortnight .However, due to the prevailing pandemic situation, the rituals are being conducted without general devotees.