Hera Panchami: A devotional celebration of divine reunion

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | July 11, 2024 IST

Puri, July 11: Hera Panchami, a deeply revered festival intertwined with the famous Car Festival of Puri, holds a special place in the hearts of devotees. ‘Hera’ signifies ‘to see,’ and ‘Panchami’ means the ‘fifth day.’ This sacred celebration takes place at the Gundicha Temple on the fifth day from the commencement of the Car Festival, honouring Goddess Mahalakshmi and emphasizing her poignant separation from Lord Jagannath.


During the Rath Yatra, Lord Jagannath departs from the Jagannath Temple, journeying to the Gundicha Temple with his siblings for nine days, while his consort, Goddess Mahalakshmi, remains behind. It is widely believed that Lord Jagannath promised his beloved that he would return the following day. However, as the days pass, the promise remains unfulfilled.


After patiently waiting for five days, Goddess Mahalakshmi's concern and impatience grow. Determined to reunite with her Lord, she decides to visit him at the Gundicha Temple. In a grand and vibrant procession, the representative idol of Goddess Mahalakshmi, known as Subarna Mahalakshmi, is carried in a beautifully adorned palanquin via the Bada Danda. The air is filled with devotion as devotees and servitors sing the soulful Hera Panchami song, expressing the Goddess’s longing and righteous anger.


Aware of Goddess Mahalakshmi's impending arrival, Lord Jagannath instructs his servitors to lock the gates of the Gundicha Temple. This act of defiance further fuels the Goddess’s anger. In her divine displeasure, she commands her servitors to symbolically break a part of Nandighosa Ratha, Lord Jagannath's chariot, teaching him a lesson.


To avoid further confrontation, Goddess Mahalakshmi takes a secret route back to the Jagannath Temple through Hera Gohiri Sahi, bypassing the main road. This unique ritual, rich in divine drama and profound devotion, is witnessed and cherished by countless devotees.


The Sri Jagannath Temple administration meticulously prepares for this significant ritual, ensuring its seamless execution. The traditional ceremonies commence around 9:30 PM, with Goddess Mahalakshmi being brought near the chariot. By 9:35 PM, the Sandhya Dhupa ritual takes place, enveloping the atmosphere in a spiritual ambiance.


Hera Panchami, with its enchanting blend of divine enactment and heartfelt devotion, not only deepens the spiritual experience of the devotees but also enhances the cultural significance of the grand Rath Yatra of Puri.







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