Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra: Why is it celebrated?

Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra

Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra

Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra for the year 2022 is celebrated on 1 July. Rath Yatra is held every year in mid-summer. On this day, three deities named as Jagannath, Subhadra, and Balabhadra are celebrated on this festival.

It is one of India’s largest and most celebrated festivals that happens at the famous Jagannath temple in Puri, Odisha where millions of devotees arrive to take the darshan of Lord Jagannath. 

When Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra is celebrated

According to the Hindu Lunar calendar, the puri jagannath rath yatra is fixed on Dwitiya Tithi during Shukla paksha of Ashada month. Currently, it falls in the month of June or July according to the Gregorian calendar.

Rath Yatra means a ‘Chariot Ride’ which is preserved as a gateway to the heavens by the devotees. 

Why Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra is celebrated every year?

It is believed that Lord Jagannath every year visits his birthplace. Various stories are linked with this festival. Some of them are given below:

  • In Dwarka, the devotee celebrates this day when Lord Krishana, accompanied by Balram, took Subhadra his sister, for a ride on a chariot to show the beauty of the city.
  • Another story says that once upon a time, in Dwarka, eight wives of Lord Krishna wanted to listen to some divine tales related to Krishna and Gopi from mother Rohini. But, mother was not interested in that. 

    After a long request, she agreed, but on the condition that Subhadra (sister of Krishna) would guard the door so that no one overhears. In meantime, Lord Krishna and Balram arrived at the doorway and Subhadra stopped them by standing in between them. 

    That time, sage Narad arrived and saw three siblings together. He prayed for three of them to give their blessing in this way forever. God granted Narad’s wish and so three siblings, reside in Puri’s Jagannath temple eternally.

  • Another story is that when Lord Krishna became the Sarthi of Arjun’s chariot, during the 18th day battle of Mahabharat.

Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra: Procession

  • The three idols are taken from the Jagannath temple to the Gundicha temple. These idols are placed in decorative chariots, along with chants that can be heard all around.
  • Before Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra, the idols are bathed with 108 buckets of water which is known as Snana Purnima.
  • Till the day of procession, they are placed in isolation as it is believed as they are ill. This event is known as Ansara.

Amazing facts about Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra:

  • On procession day, the king brings deities from the temple and is placed on the chariot and this ritual is ‘Chehra Pahara’.
  • Before placing them, the king himself sweeps the chariot. Later, he decorates the chariot with flowers. The ground on which the chariot will move is also cleaned by him and sandalwood is dotted on it.
  • The three deities are placed in the aunt’s place the Gundicha temple for a span of 9 days. Later, they are back at their home and this returning at their home is ‘bahuda yatra’. 
  • In the evening, when deities reach the Jagannath temple, they wait outside the temple.
  • On the next day, the deities are decorated with new clothes like babies and this ritual is ‘Suna vesa’.
  • After this day, deities are placed again in the temple, marking an end to the yatra.

Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra: significance

The word ‘Jagannath’ is made up of 2 words: Jaga means universe and Nath means Lord which is ‘Lord of Universe’. In fact, Lord Jagannath is considered one of the reincarnations of the avatars of Lord Vishnu.

There is a belief that pulling the chariots of their God during the procession is a way of engaging in pure devotion to the Lord and it will destroy the sins which might be performed in any way either knowingly and unknowingly. 

How Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra is celebrated

The atmosphere during the festival of Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra is so calm and pure. Devotees with the chariots keep singing songs, and mantras with the sound of drum beating.

Tour package of Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra is also available here. To know more, click on – rathyatra

It is believed that those who pull the rope linked to the chariot of deities and help others also in doing so or merely touch the rope or chariot, get the merit of several penances.

The chariot that is pulled on the occasion of Rath Yatra is made up of a type of Neem tree wood. It is later dismantled and used as firewood in the temple kitchen. The temple offers prasad to Lord, which is then distributed among devotees.

No matter what- it rains every year on rath yatra. People believe that it is Lord Jagannath who decides upon the rain!

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