States Odisha Festivals Rath Yatra

Puri Rath Yatra Odisha

Also, known as the Car Festivals or Chariot Festival, Rath Yatra is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, when the huge deities of Krishna, Balaram and Subhadra are taken for a religious yatra on the chariots to the Jagannath temple for a week.

Puri Rath Yatra Odisha

Ratha Yatra or Ratha Jatra or Chariot Festival of Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra, a Hindu festival, is undoubtedly the biggest and the most popular festival held in Odisha. It is the oldest Ratha Yatra taking place in India and the world. Every year in the month of June or July, this festival is celebrated on the second day of the Shukla Paksha, Ashadh month as per the traditional Oriya calendar. It is considered most auspicious to visit the temple during this period. The festival in Odisha is celebrated for nine days, the commencement of this festival is called as the Rath Yatra and the return journey on a ninth day is called as Bahuda Jatra. During the return journey (Bahuda Jatra) of Ratha yatra festival, the chariot of Lord Jagannath stops at Mausi Maa temple (Lord Jagannath's Aunt) and the deity is offered his favorite Poda Pitha, a kind of baked cake meant for the poor. As part of Ratha Yatra, the deities of Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Lord Balabhadra and younger sister Devi Subhadra are moved from their holy abode for a procession up to Gundicha Temple.

The Ratha Yatra takes one day for traveling to Gundicha temple, deities of lords remain in the temple for seven days, and one day to return home. This Journey is known as Gundicha Yatra, Nava Dina Yatra ("nine days Journey"), or Ghosa Yatra. Three chariots are constructed and decorated for the deities to start their Yatra. Three chariots for the deities, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra are built. The construction of Chariots starts with Chandana Yatra. Carpenters called as Maharana undertake the construction of these chariots, which is their hereditary right since ages. After the construction, decoration starts with different colour clothes. Lord Jagannath's Chariot is called as Nandighosa which is 45.6 feet high with 18 wheels, Lord Balabhadra's chariot is called as Taladhwaja which is 45 feet high with 16 wheels and Devi Subhadra's chariot is called as Dwarapadalan, which is 44.6 feet high with 14 wheels. The three chariots are taken out onto the streets of Puri in the afternoon and that is when the traditional Hindu festival Yatra begins. All three chariots are pulled by the devotees with the help of ropes up to Gundicha temple which is just two km away from the Puri Jagannath temple. This festival showcases the art and culture of Puri as well as of Odisha as a whole. Many cultural activities are organized as part of this festival.

Highlights of the Festival

  • This festival is celebrated for Nine days, during which the Lord Jagannath, along with other two deities, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra visit Gundicha Temple and his Mausi Maa (Aunt's) temple.
  • The Rath Yatra starts from this temple, visits the Gundicha temple, and returns to the Puri Jagannath temple on the Ninth (9 the) day.
  • Large chariots of about 45 feet are created by the traditional carpenters for the Yatra

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