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Damanaka Yatra Saturday, Jun 27, 2015

'Damanaka Yatra' is observed on 14th day of Bright fortnight in the month of Chaitra (April). The ritual actually starts before 2 days. On 12th day, Shree Jeeus are treated with sandal wood paste. Beforehand, a coloured image of Lord Kamadev is being kept in the Southern Room.

On 13th day, 'Damanaka Apaharana' (Stealing the plant) ritual is commenced. 'Damanaka' means 'dayana' or a scented plant, a favourite of Lord Jagannath. After 'Dwipahara Dhup' (Noon Meal) and 'Dakshinaghar Bhog' (offering in the Southern Room), Lord Shree Rama and Lord Shree Krushna are taken to the inner pedestal. Both the deities are representative images of the Lords. Then 'Agnyamala'(A garland signifying directive) is brought issued by Lord Balabhadra and Shree Jeeu for the journey of the deities.

Both the images of Shree Rama and Shree Krushna are brought from the Banyan tree by a palanquin. This tree is called 'Bata' and it is within the Shreemandir premises. The images are brought to Jagannatha Ballabha Mutt with all pomp and royalty. Here, the image of Lord Kama is also placed in front of Lord Rama and Lord Krushana.

Both the deities go to the garden and steal 'Damanaka'. Besides, 21 nos of 'Damanaka' plants, wrapped in a 'Khandua', are brought to the temple. The palanquin reaches the 'Bata' (Banyan tree). The 'Damanaka' plants are taken to the 'Bhoga Mandap' where they are placed on a purified sand altar. These are offered to the deities later on.

While the deities are taken to the Mutt and return to the temple, procession is arranged. 'Damanaka' or 'Dayana' plants are offered to the deities with elaborate rites. But this offering is made after the 'Sakala Dhupa' (Morning meal). However, Goddess Chamunda, Goddess Laxmi, Goddess Saraswati and Shree Madan Mohan are also taken to 'Ratna Sinhasana' (Bejeweled throne) earlier.

It is to remember that 'Damanaka Yatra' includes stealing away the scented plant on a day and offering these plants to the deities on the other. 

Source :I & PR Department