Lakhs of devotees thronged the holy town here to witness the annual ritualistic ceremonial bath of the Lord Balabhadra, Lord Jagannath and Goddess Subhadra at the Snan Mandap on Thursday.
The deities were bathed with 108 pitchers of aromatic water by servitors and• this was followed by the splendid “Hati Besha” or “Gajanana Besa” of the deities as frenzied devotees danced with joy to traditional devotional songs.
Early morning, the servitors escorted the deities to the Snana Mandap inside the premises of Srimandir facing the Grand Road where devotees gathered in large numbers to witness the ritual.
After the• ritualistic bath, Hati Besha and public darshan, the dieties are to be taken to Anasara Ghara. Legend is that the deities catch cold and fall sick. They are treated by traditional methods with herbs for a fortnight and during this entire period they are out of bounds for devotees.
The rejuvenated dieties come out of Anasara a day before the famous Rath Yatra which is scheduled on 14 July this year. A total of 42 platoons of police force has been deployed for the smooth conduct of the Snana Purnima rituals on Thursday.
Snana Yatra is the first festival at the 12th-century shrine in the Hindu calendar every year when the Lords give darshan to general public out in the open. The occasion marks a prelude to the annual Rath Yatra celebrations.