Ratha Yatra is a major Hindu festival associated with Lord Jagannath (avatar [incarnation] of Lord Vishnu) held at Puri in India during the months of June or July.This year it was held July 12.

The Puri Rath Yatra is world famous and attracts more then one million pilgrims every year, not only from India but also from the different parts of the world.

Rath Yatra, in other words the Chariot Festival, is the only day when devotees who are not allowed into the temple can get a chance to see the deities. This festival is a symbol of equality and integration.

The three deities, Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Lord Balabhadra and their sister Subhadra are worshipped within the temple, but on this festival they are taken to the streets of Puri so that everyone can have the fortune to see them. The three deities make an annual journey to their aunt’s temple (Gundicha Temple), 2km(1 1/4 miles) away from Lord Jagannath temple.

The Jagannath Temple in Puri is one among the four most sacred temples in India. The other three are: Rameshwaram in south, Dwarika in west and Badrinath in north.

The festival begins with the invoking ceremony in the morning and the chariot pulling on the roads of Puri in afternoon is the most exciting part of the festival.

The three deities have three different chariots – the chariot of Lord Jagannath, Nandighosa, has 18 wheels and is 45.6 feet high. The chariot of Lord Balabhadra, Taladhwaja has 16 wheels and is 45 feet high and the chariot of Subhadra, Devadalana has 14 wheels and is 44.6 ft high.

Every year the wooden temple-like chariots are constructed newly. The idols of these three deities are also made of wood and they are religiously replaced by new ones in every 12 years.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under:

Daily Headlines

  • Sign up and get the top stories to begin the day delivered to your inbox at 6 a.m.