Deva Snana, Bathing Ceremony of Lord Jagannath

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Photos: Thejas K R.

HOUSTON: As part of the “Greater Houston Rath Yatra” celebrations, Deva Snana, bathing ceremony of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra was celebrated at ISKCON temple on Sunday, June 14, with much pomp and ceremony. Deva Snana  is the first occasion in the year when the deities are brought out from the  sanctum sanctorum at Puri 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. After the bathing rituals, the deities are decorated in Gaja Vesha or elephant headgear. In keeping with this tradition, the deities, specially built and brought from Puri were bathed with 108 pitchers of water in a ceremony led by H.H. Bhakti Rasamrita Swami Ji, Kamalamukha Prabhu Ji and Saranga Thakura Prabhu Ji. All devotes present in the temple participated in the bathing ceremony by pouring water on their beloved God. After the bathing ceremony, the deities were dressed in Gaja Vesha. All the while, soulful Kirtan was being performed by the ISKCON devotees. This was followed by Pravachan by H.H. Bhakti Rasamrita Swami Ji on the significance of Deva Snana and Naba Kalebara. This was followed by Maha Arati and Prasadam.

After the ceremony, the deities were placed in Anabasara, where the devotees can’t see them until Rath Yatra, which will be celebrated on July 11, at Discovery Green from 6pm to 10pm. This event is being organized jointly by Char Dham Hindu Temple, SKAI Foundation, ISKCON Houston and Masala Radio and is being supported by various organizations including Hindus of Greater Houston, India Culture Center and the Gujrati Samaj of Houston. The organizers are anticipating a big crowd packing the Discovery Green 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 featuring a high-flying drum and dance spectacular by the World famous Mayapuris, Indian bazaar, Food booths, Maha Arati and Open air Zee Dandiya Raas. Admission is completely free and devotees will get free Prasad.

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