Hundreds of devotees thronged the famous Jagannath temple at Dhurwa on Friday to witness the 'snan yatra, the bathing festival of Lord Jagannath, Goddess Subhadra and Lord Balram that is celebrated on the occasion of Purnima or full moon day of the Hindu month of Jyeshtha.
After the bathing rituals, Lord Jagannath fell ill and was kept in a sick room to recuperate in privacy under the care of the Raj Vaidya (royal doctor).
It is said that with the Ayurvedic medication (pnachan) administered by the Raj Vaidya the Lord recovered in a fortnight and resume giving an audience to devotees.
The deities returned to the main temple in a procession in the evening and were placed in a place called 'Anasara Pindi'.
Subsequently they fall ill and remain in bed for 15 days.
Closely guarded by priests of the temple, the ceremony was held at the main chamber of the temple, with authorities allowing only a handful of people to witness the ritual.
The rath yatra will take place on June 29 from the temple and chariot will roll for around 3 km to Lord Jagannath's aunt house (mausi's bari).
Meanwhile, the locals will celebrate this festival at the Ghurti Mela on July 8.
"After the holy bath, the gods proceed towards their dark habitation (agyatvas) for 15 days," said Brajbhushan Mishra, head priest of the Jagannathpur temple.
He added that the holy bath has been a historic tradition on Jyeshtha Purnima.
"Each god was bathed with 51 urns (kalash) of water. Devotees also bathed the gods," said the priest.
From Saturday, the temple wouldn't allow any rituals by commoners, but would allow them on the temple premises.
The upcoming rituals comprise Kalash Sthapna on June 16 followed by adhivaas on June 17 and the praan pratishtha and bhandara on June 18.
Before the rath yatra, priests led by Mishra would paint the eyes of the idols at the netradaan (eye donation) ceremony.
The chariots will roll out of the temple at 5pm on June 29.
With PTI inputs