Homepage‎ > ‎

Rathayatra - in India

Ratha Jatra (Oriya: ରଥଯାତ୍ରା) is a huge Hindu festival associated with Lord Jagannath held at Puri in the state of Orissa, India during the months of June (Rainy Season). Most of the city's society is based around the worship of Jagannath (Krishna) with the ancient temple being the fulcrum of the area. The festival commemorates Lord Jagannath's annual visit to his aunt's home. Millions of devotees congregate at Puri for this annual event from all over the country and abroad.
 

Usually the deities - Jagannath (Krishna), Balarama and Subhadra are worshipped within the temple, but on the day of the Rath festival they are taken through the streets so that everyone can have the fortune of seeing them. Three richly decorated chariots, resembling temple structures, are pulled through the streets of Puri. This commemorates the annual journey of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balarama, and their sister Subhadra to their aunt' s temple, the Gundicha Temple which is situated at a distance of 2 km from their temple. New chariots are built every year. This is the only day when devotees who are not allowed in the temple premises such as non-Hindus and foreigners, can get their glimpse of the deities. During the festival, devotees from all over the World go to Puri with an earnest desire to help pull Lords' chariot with the help of other priests pulling the chariots with ropes. They consider this a pious deed and risk their lives in the huge crowd. The huge processions accompanying the chariots play devotional songs with drums, tambourines, trumpets etc. Children line the streets through which the chariot will pass and add to the mass chorus. The Rath carts themselves are some approximately 45 feet (14 m) high and are pulled by the thousands of pilgrims who turn up for the event. It is also telecasted live on many Indian channels and International channels.
  
 

A glimpse of Lord Jagannatha on the chariot is considered to be very auspicious and saints, poets and scriptures have repeatedly glorified the sanctity of this special festival. The sanctity of the festival is such that even a touch of the chariot or even the ropes with which these are pulled is considered enough to confer the results of several pious deeds or penance for ages. In fact, there is a famous Oriya song which says that on this occasion, the chariot, the wheels, the grand avenue all become one with Lord Jagannatha himself.

Comments