Lord Jagannath keeps on grabbing the attention of his devotees from the beginning till 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 Maha Laxmi. Now how is that interesting?
‘Hera’ means to ‘see’ and ‘Panchami’ means the ‘fifth day’. It is celebrated at Gundicha temple on the fifth day from the start date of the Car festival. This festival is dedicated to Goddess Mahalaxmi and is also known as a ritual of Goddess Mahalaxmi.
Lord Jagannath along with his siblings leaves for a vacation to his aunt’s place and his consort Mahalaxmi is 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, Goddess Laxmi became impatient and hence decided to visit the Gundicha temple to see if everything was ok.
At night of the 5th day the representative idol of Goddess Mahalaxmi (known as Subarna Mahalaxmi) 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, 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 Mahalaxmi sing the Hera Panchami song. The Hera Panchami song expresses Goddess Mahalaxmi’s anger towards Her husband. After knowing that Goddess Mahalaxmi 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 is what the crowd witnesses with profuse excitement.