Hera Panchami – Goddess Laxmi Visits Lord Jagannatha

On the fourth day of the Lord’s stay, Hera Panchami is celebrated
On this day, Laksmi Devi along with Her guards and servants comes to Gundica to demand that Jagannatha return home. Goddess Lakshmi decides to visit Lord Jagannath in Gundicha temple where He is with His brother & sister. In the evening, Goddess Lakshmi is carried to the Gundicha temple in a bimana (decorated palanquin) by servitors with great pomp and show with traditional music and a colourful procession via the Grand Road of Puri.
After reaching the Gundicha temple, the procession makes a halt near the Nandighosha Ratha, the chariot of Lord Jagannath. Goddess Lakshmi is welcomed with ceremonial offerings. She enters the Gundicha temple during the evening rituals and throws the ‘Mohana Churna’. On behalf of Lord Jagannath, She receives an ‘Agyan Mala’ (a garland of consent). The door is closed. Goddess Lakshmi feels neglected and angry.
She comes out of the Gundicha temple where a servitor worships Her with offerings. Being jealous and angry of Her husband’s enjoyment with His siblings, and to teach Him a lesson for ignoring Her, She asks Her servitors to break a part of His chariot. A small part is symbolically broken.
As the Goddess feels guilty of causing damage to Nandighosha, She secretly returns to Srimandira without any procession and fanfare via a lane called the Hera Gohiri Sahi of Puri.
On the day after the Hera Panchami ritual, all the three chariots are turned to face the South, thereby getting prepared for the return journey. After their nine-days outing, Bahuda Jatra marks the return of the deities. After the Suna Besha and Adhara Pana, the concluding day of the Ratha Jatra is Niladri Bije when the deities enter the Srimandira. Goddess Lakshmi, still sulking and angry, does not open the gate of the Srimandira for Lord Jagannath. On Niladri Bije, Lord Jagannath offers Rasagola as a sweet present to Goddess Lakshmi to earn Her favour and to regain entry.
These continuous traditions and centuries-old rituals of Srimandira show that even the Lord of the Universe has to be the target of His wife’s anger- angry Goddess Lakshmi on Hera Panchami!

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