Hera Panchami is an important and unique ritual of Rath yatra. ‘Hera’ means to ‘see’ and ‘Panchami’ means the ‘fifth day’. It is celebrated at the Gundicha temple on the fifth day from the start date of the Jagannath Rath Yatra. This ritual dedicates to Goddess Mahalakshmi. This ritual highlights the separation of Mahalaxmi from Lord Jagannath. In 2020, Hera Panchami observes on Saturday, 27 June.
Lord Jagannath keeps on grabbing the attention of his devotees from the beginning until the end of the rituals, of the car festival in Puri Jagannath Temple. But, the most interesting and weird among all these days does shift the eyeballs and bhakti of the devotees from God Jagannath to Mahalakshmi. Now how is that interesting?
Goddess MahaLakshmi at Gundicha Temple
Lord Jagannath along with his siblings leaves for a vacation to his aunt’s place and his consort Mahalakshmi left behind in the main temple. While leaving he had promised that he would return back the next day, but time passed by and he never came back, nor did he give any information. After the 5th Day, she became impatient and hence decided to visit the Gundicha temple to see if everything was ok.
Hera Panchami Celebration
At night of the 5th day the representative idol of Goddess Mahalakshmi (known as Subarna Mahalakshmi) is made to leave for the Gundicha temple in a beautifully decorated palanquin via Bada Danda (the Grand Road) in a colorful procession in pomp and splendor, accompanied by her servitors. She want to meet Lord Jagannath and to ask him why he had not returned yet. The people & servitors who are part of the procession of Goddess, sing the Hera Panchami song. This song expresses Goddess Mahalakshmi’s anger towards her husband.
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Why Hera Panchami is celebrated?
After knowing that Goddess Mahalakshmi is coming to meet him with anger; Lord Jagannath asks his servitors to quickly lock the door of Gundicha Temple. After having a stealthy look at her Lord; she returns to the temple, damaging a part of Jagannath’s chariot in anger and disgust. This incident celebrated as Hera Panchami. This is what the crowd witnesses with profuse excitement.