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Hera Panchami – The day when Goddess Lakshmi breaks part of Nandighosha chariot

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Puri: Devotees are waiting to see divine act of Lord Jagannath during nine-day Ratha Jatra when Goddess Lakshmi will break a part of Nandighosa chariot parked in front of Gundicha temple on the auspicious occasion of Hera Panchami here today.

Hera Panchami is one of the mysterious and exciting rituals during Ratha Jatra. The ritual is performed on fifth day of Ratha Jatra when Lord Jagannath along with his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra and weapon Sudarshan visits Gundicha temple on chariots.

As Goddess Lakshmi, the wife of Lord Jagannath, is exempted to travel with his husband to Gundicha temple on nine-day trip, she gets angry and on suggestion by Goddess Bimala, who is considered to be the Tantric consort of Jagannath and a guardian of the Jagannath temple, she secretly visits Gundicha temple from Sri Mandir to have glimpse of the Lord.

Even Goddess Bimala gives Goddess Lakshmi ‘Moha Churna’ (a herb in powder form to attract husband) for early return to Sri Mandir.

As per the rituals on Hera Panchami, the servitors carry Goddess Lakshmi on a palanquin in a grand procession to the Gundicha temple. The palanquin halts near Nandighosha chariot where the Pati Mahapatra – a representative of Lord Jagannath – welcomes Goddess Lakshmi with ‘Bandapana’. She was taken near the Jaya Bijaya Dwara and from palanquin she throws the ‘Moha Churna’ given by Goddess Bimala upon her husband Lord Jagannath.

As part of the effect of the herbal powder, the Pati Mahapatra offers an ‘Agyan Mala’ (a garland of consent) on behalf of Lord Jagannath to Goddess Lakshmi assuring her to return to Sri Mandir after three days.

As Goddess Lakshmi does not get enough time to have darshan of Lord Jagannath due to evening rituals of deities, she gets angry and breaks a part of Nandhighosha chariot while returning to Sri Mandir.

While the Goddess visits the Gundicha Temple in a grand procession, but returns to Sri Mandir via Gohiri Sahi route.

As the Goddess feels guilty of breaking a part of Nandighosha chariot, she returns to Sri Mandir via Gohiri Sahi route without any procession, said Sri Mandir servitor Rabindranath Pratihari.

Another interesting fact is also found in ‘Ratha Chakada’ scripture that Hera Panchami was introduced by the King Kapilendra Deb.

Earlier, the ritual was performed through chanting. But, the king had conducted the rituals in a grand way in which the Panchu Pandav was also taking part.