One of the most attention-grabbing religious festivals of India, Ratha Yatra or Chariot Festival is centred on the worship of Lord Jagannath, the saviour of the world. Jagannath, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu is worshipped in Puri in a princely manner. In this festival, the incomplete statues of Lord Jagannath along with his elder brother Balabhadra and younger sister Subhadra is worshipped. Associated with several mysterious folk tales as well as myths, this religious festival has gathered attention of the religious souls living across the world. Here are the details of Puri Rath Yatra:
During this festival the three deities are taken to the Gundicha Temple which is believed to be the aunt’s house of the trio. Three splendid chariots are decked to carry the deities to the destination. The deities are believed to take rest in their aunt’s house for a period of 9 days during which delicious dishes are offered to them. After 9 days the deities are resumed to the main temple. It is important to note that the designing of the chariot starts from the day of Vasant Panchami (January/February).
One of the most awaited religious festivals in India, Ratha Yatra commences on the second day of new moon in the months of June/July. It takes place according to the dates and times of Hindu calendar. Ratha Yatra 2018 will commence on July 14 and Return Car Festival or ‘Bahuda Yatra’ will fall on July 23 this year.
The hallowed city of Puri in Odisha is known across the country for the gigantic temple of Lord Jagannath and his chariot festival or Ratha Yatra. This joyous religious festival starts from the main temple of Lord Jagannath in Puri town, which is one and a half hour drive from Bhubaneshwar . The chariots of the deities are taken to the Gundicha Temple situated in the other part of the city.
During the Ratha Yatra festival, the priests chant Vedic Mantras, a huge group of people sing songs, and exclusive musical instruments are played. Around lacs of devotees gather around the temple and they pull the chariots of Lord Jagannath, and Balabhadra along with the chariot of their sister Subhadra. It is believed that the devotees who get a chance to touch the ropes are blessed with divinity. It is during the Ratha Yatra Festival only when Non-Hindus can have a glimpse of the deities. (Usually Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter into the temple of Lord Jagannath). Having a glimpse of Lord Jagannath on chariot or touching the chariot is considered very auspicious.
Apart from attending the Ratha Yatra Festival, the travellers in Puri can look for certain other priceless tourist options. Puri Beach, Konark Beach, Konark Sun Temple are some of the most fascinating tourist attractions around Puri. Also Chilika Lake and Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary are a few popular sightseeing places near Puri.
By Air: The nearest Airport to Puri is at Bhubaneshwar at a distance of around 60km
By Train: Puri Terminus has superfast connectivity with the major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Okha, Ahmedabad, Tirupati etc. Khurda Road station is only 44km from Puri.
By Bus: There is a bus stand close to the Gundicha Temple that connects cities like Cuttack and Bhubaneshwar with frequent bus services. Direct buses are available for Kolkata and Visakhapatnam.
If you are planning to attend the chariot festival or Ratha Yatra Mahotsav in 2017 and have not decided where to stay in Puri then book your hotel soon. It is the peak time and there will be a huge rush for hotel booking. The best accommodation options in Puri include a range of luxury, deluxe and budget hotels. Mayfair Waves, Puri is the only five star hotel in Puri. In luxury category one can look for hotels like Toshali Sands Resorts or Hans Coco Palm. In deluxe category hotels like Chanakya BNR and Hotel Shree Hari are quite famous. However, if you don’t want to spend much on accommodation, you can go for budget hotels like Hotel Sonar Bangla, Hotel Golden Dust, Hotel Rumani, Shakti International and some more.
For more information visit http://jagannath.nic.in/