Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra
Lord Jagannath is the supreme deity of Universe, who is the savior of countless devotees all across the world. Puri is one of the four, most sacred pilgrimage and worship site of Hindus, and one among the greatest spiritual and cultural heritage of the world. The Rath Yatra or the Chariot festival of Lord Jagannath is the most-awaited festivals in the state of Orissa, India. Thus it marks as one of the oldest and the grandest procession festival that is celebrated every year with great pomp in Puri, Orissa.
Puri Jagannath Temple Orissa
The importance of this festival is very well mentioned in Puranas of Hinduism such as Padma Purana, Skanda Purana, and Brahma Purana. It is an annual event, which is celebrated in the month of June or July, on the 2nd day of the Shukla Paksha in the month of Ashadha (Oriya Calendar). This Rath Yatra is dedicated to principal deities of Jagannath Temple namely-Lord Jagannath (Lord Krishna), his sister Goddess Subhadra and his elder brother Lord Baladeva. The Jagannath Rath Yatra starts from Jagannath Temple till Gundicha Temple. Thus, this Rath Yatra is also known as Dasavatara, Gundicha Yatra, Chariot Festival, and Navadina Yatra.
Importance of this Festival:
This festival is organized in Puri. It is the belief of locals that every year Lord Krishna visits his birthplace Mathura for a few days. To fulfill the Lord’s desire, this Rath Yatra is organized every year. It is one of the rituals that states everyone is equal to one another. This Rath Yatra is conducted in favor of three deities who are made of wooden blocks, Lord Jagannath, Goddess Subhadra and Lord Baladeva who have beautifully decorated a sight to behold.
Chariot Procession of Jagannath Temple Puri Orissa
The significance of this Festival:
All types of evil forces and effects of sorcery and witchcraft can be destroyed.
The Love and understanding (unity of family members) within the family will flourish especially among siblings.
It also helps to gain power and strength and also strengthens marital relationships.
It also paves way for Salvation, the ultimate goal of every individual.
It washes of sins and grants material prosperity and victory in all your undertakings.
Interesting Facts about Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra-Chariot Procession
The preparation of the Chariots (Rath) starts on the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya. These three chariots are then pulled by 50 meters long ropes. It is believed that participating in pulling this rope will help to remove bad karma and bad deeds.
Lord Jagannath’s chariot has 18 wheels and it is called as Nandighosa, which is around 45.6 ft in height.
Lord Baladeva’s chariot has 16 wheels and it is called as Taladhvaja, which is around 45 ft in height.
Goddess Subhadra’s chariot has 14 wheels and it is called as Devadalana, which is around 44.6 ft height.
All these three chariots are beautifully decorated with vibrant paints, ornaments, designs, colorful and scented flowers which is a wonderful sight to behold.
The chariot procession of these deities takes place from Puri Jagannath Temple to Gundicha Temple.
Before this Yatra starts, all the three wooden idols are bathed using108 buckets of water, and this whole event is known as Snana Purnima.
After this, the Idols are kept in isolation till the day of Yatra, which is famously known as Ansara.
On the day of the procession, a holy ritual is conducted known as Chhera Pahara by then King of Orissa.
It is at this time that the King carries these three deities from the temple and places them on the decorated chariots.
Before keeping them on the chariot the King himself sweeps the chariot with a gold handle broom and decorates the chariot with colorful flowers.
Even the path of the chariot is cleaned by the King, after which sandalwood is sprinkled on it. So this signifies that no man is high and low, all are equal in the eyes of Lord Jagannath.
It’s a fact that Jagannath temple is accessible only by Hindus but on the day of the Rath Yatra, people of all faiths can visit this temple.
The 3 deities remain at the Gundicha Temple, their aunt’s place for a span of 9 days. Later, they are back to their home. This return journey is called the ‘Bahuda Yatra’.
On reaching the Jagannath Temple in the evening, they wait outside the temple. On the next day, these three idols are adorned with new clothes and decorated as babies. This event is called Suna Vesa.
The next day, the deities are placed again into the sanctum sanctorum, which marks an end to the Rath Yatra of Puri Jagannath.
As the procession starts, the chariot of Goddess Subhadra’s is pulled first, then the chariot of Lord Baladeva is pulled, and the chariot of Lord Jagannath's at last.
The distance between the two temples (Jagannath temple to Gundicha temple) is just 3 km but the whole enthusiasm of the devotees and tourists is clubbed with chants, conches and drum beating, takes a few hours. All are pleased to seek the darshan of these three deities for the next 9 days.
During the return Yatra, which is known as Bahuda Yatra they make a halt at the Mausi Maa Temple. Here the deities and devotees are served Poda Pitha, a sweet pancake. It is believed that this pancake is the poor man’s food and the Lord is equally fond of it.
Places to visit near Jagannath temple:
Puri is dotted with several attractions for its visitors. There are various temples and beaches nearby to this temple. Puri beach, Chilika Lake, Konark temple, Konark beach, Sakshigopal temple, Shree Loknath temple, Gundicha Temple, Raghurajpur artist village, and Pipili village are some of the most popular attractions near Jagannath temple.
Chief Administration Office,
Shri Jagannath Temple,
Grand Road, Puri,
Daily Pooja Timings:
5:00 AM: Dwara Pitha & Mangal Arati
6:00 AM: Mailam
9:00 AM: Gopala Ballava Puja
11:00 AM: Madhynha Dhupa
How to Reach:
By Road: Puri is easily connected with the road through a good network of NH Roads. From the bus stand near the Gundicha Temple, buses from Bhubaneswar and Cuttack are available after every 10-15 minutes. Minibusses for Konark are also available from here, after every 20-30 minutes. Direct buses for Kolkata and Visakhapatnam are also available. Renting a cab is another option.
By Train: Puri is the last stop on the East Coast Railway. It is connected through direct express and other super-fast trains with important Indian cities such as Okha, Delhi, Tirupati, Kolkata, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and so on.
By Air: The nearest airport to Puri is Biju Patnaik Airport, Bhubaneswar, which is around 60 km from Puri. The city is easily accessible from the airport. You can easily rent a cab. This airport is well-connected with important cities of the India such as Delhi, Nagpur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, and Chennai.