Mumbai: The annual Rath Yatra held in Odisha's Puri commenced on July 14 this year. The age-old tradition sees the departure of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balbhadra and their sister Subhadra from the Puri temple and the arrival to their original abode after about a week's stay at the Gundicha Temple.
After four days of the Yatra, Goddess Lakshmi (consort of Shri Jagannath) leaves for the Gundicha temple from Puri to reunite with her husband.
The reunion of the celestial couple referred to as Hera Panchami observed on Shashti Tithi is an elaborate ceremony. Goddess Lakshmi's idol is known as Subarna Mahalakshmi. Devotees carry the deity in a palanquin from the Puri temple to the Gundicha.
The reunion is a sight to behold as the idols of Shri Jagannath and Mata Subarna Mahalakshmi are placed face-to-face. Devotees flock to see this brief reunion.
The Goddess urges Lord Jagannath to return to the Puri temple. She expresses anger over his trip to Gundicha without her. The Lord acknowledges her feelings and gives her agyaan mala to assure her about his return to their abode.
After receiving the garland, Goddess Lakshmi leaves the Gundicha temple, but to vent out her anger, she breaks a part of the Lord's chariot Nandighosha. A representative of the Goddess often does this on her behalf, and this tradition is called Ratha Bhanga.
However, to get hold of the culprit, the Lord's representatives begin a search operation. The Goddess hides behind a tamarind tree and then escapes through a secret lane called Hera Gohri.
On the next day, on Saptami Tithi, the Bahuda Yatra begins. This yatra marks the return of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balbhadra and Devi Subhadra to their abode - Puri temple.