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The year-long cycle of festivals of Shree Jagannatha Temple begins with the Snana Yatra (the Bathing Ceremony) which is celebrated on the full-moon day of the month of Jyeshtha(May-June). Gajanana or Hati Besha is celebrated on the occasion of Snana Yatra.
On the full-moon day, the deities are carried out to the Snana Vedi (the bathing platform). Post the ceremonial bathing of the deities, the deities get dressed like Gajanana which is known as Hati Besha locally. As it is a common religious practice among the Hindus that Lord Ganesha is worshiped at the beginning of every religious rite, Lord Jagannatha is decorated as Lord Ganesha during His first annual yatra. It is also worth noting that He is dressed as Lord Ganesha to satisfy the followers of Ganapatya Sect.
As per the Dardhyata Bhakti, Ganapati Bhatta, a staunch devotee of Lord Ganesha who had come from Karnataka, was frustrated for not seeing the image of Lord Ganesha on the bathing platform. To fulfill the religious sentiment of His devotee, to the surprise of all the assembled, the Lord appeared with the mask of a pachyderm. Since that day onwards, the Hati Besha is being celebrated on the day of Jyeshtha Purnima.
This Besha is primarily conducted by the Palla Puspalak. The decoration materials required for this Besha is supplied by the Raghav Das Matha and Gopalatirtha Matha respectively as per the prolonged tradition.
Pilgrims and general onlookers are allowed to go up to the Sana Mandapa to have a look of the attractive Hati Besha or Gajanana Besha of the deities during the ‘Sahana Mela’ period without paying any fee.
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