Bathing Ceremony of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra at Char Dham Temple


Deities in Gaja Vesha after the bathing ceremony. Photos: Thejas K.R.

Deities in Gaja Vesha after the bathing ceremony.
Photos: Thejas K.R.

THE WOODLANDS: As part of the 7th Annual “Greater Houston Rath Yatra” celebrations, “Deva Snana Puja” will be held at the Char Dham temple, in the Woodlands on Wednesday, June 27 from 6pm to 8pm.

Deva Snana” Puja is the “Bathing Ceremony” of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra that happens on the full moon day of Jyeshta Masa (month). It is an important festival as it’s the birthday of Lord Jagannath. This is the first occasion in the year when the deities are brought out from the sanctum sanctorum and taken in a procession to “Snana Mandap” (bathing altar), where they are ceremonially bathed with 108 pitchers of water from a well inside the Jagannath Temple.  Out of the 108 pitchers of water, 35 pitchers of water are used for Lord Jagannath, 33 pitchers for Lord Balabhadra, 22 pitchers for Devi Subhadra and 18 pitchers for Lord Sudarshan. After the bathing rituals, the deities are decorated in “Gaja Vesha” or elephant headgear. In keeping with this tradition, during the Deva Snana Puja at the Char Dham temple, the deities will be bathed with 108 pitchers of water, will be dressed in Gaja Vesha. Then there will be Archana, Arati, Mantrapushpam, Teertha Prasad Viniyogam followed by Prasadam.

Devotees bathing the deities with purified water.

Devotees bathing the deities with purified water.

Traditionally, after the bathing, the Gods fall ill and are kept in Anabasara, where the devotees can’t see them until they appear the day before Rath Yatra, known as Netra Utsav. The next day, the deities take a trip to visit their maternal aunt in a festival, known worldwide as the Rath Yatra. This year the 7th Annual Greater Houston Rath Yatra or Festival of Chariots will be celebrated on July 14 at the Char Dham Temple from 5pm to 10pm. This event is being organized jointly by Char Dham Hindu Temple, SKAI Foundation, and ISKCON Houston and is being supported by various other organizations. The organizers are anticipating a big crowd packing the temple premises and surrounding streets to see and seek blessings from Lord Jagannath, Lord of the Universe. Festivities will include procession of 3 chariots in Jagannath Puri style, Cultural entertainment, Indian bazaar, Food booths and Maha Arati. Admission is completely free.

For more information, visit or call 832-299-5172.