Rath Yatra festival is celebrated annually in Puri, Odisha. During this world renowned festival, lord Jagannatha is worshipped along with his brother lord Balabhadra and sister Devi Subhadra. Rath Yatra (chariot festival) marks the annual journey of the three deities from the 12th century Jagannath temple in the chariots to the temple of Devi Gundicha, their aunt. The celebration ends nine days later with Bahuda Yatra or the return journey of the three to their temple. The rituals started early in the morning.
Jagannath Rath Yatra is more than five thousand years old and the most spiritual thing is, the celebration follows all the same rituals from its begining. There would not seen any changes in this festival. The 'Goti pahandi' of the deities began around 10.30 am, when the three gods along with Lord Sudarsana were taken out in a procession to their chariots parked in front of the temple one after one as the entire Bada Danda reverberated with the sounds of ghanta (cymbals), kahali (type of flute), mahuri (a double reeded instrument), pakhauja (a variant of mridangam), mardal (similar to pakhawaj) and bells. Shree Sudarshan and Devi Subhadra do not have arms. Therefore, they are carried in a reclining position ensuring they do not touch the floor
On the other hand, Shree Balabadra and Shree Jagannath are put on the ground from time to time on a large pillow not cause damage to the idols. After the deities were placed on their respective chariots, Puri King Gajapati Divyasingh Dev performed 'chhera panhara'. It is the most famous ritual associated with the Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra. During the festival, the Gajapati King sweeps all around the deities and chariots. He then cleanses the road with a broom (gold-handled) and sprinkles sandalwood water and powder. His action bridges the gap between the rich and the poor, the low caste and the high caste and sends out the very important message of dignity of labour. After Chera Pahara the chariot pulling begins. People from all religions and walks of life participate in the 3km long procession in bada danda. Same rituals are repeated during Bahuda yatra.
The chariots used during Rath Yatra are built every year. Carpenters began the construction of chariots on the Akshaya Tritiya day. The chariots are painted with bright colors and the tops are covered with red, black, yellow, or green canopies. Lord Jagannath uses red and yellow, Lord Balaram uses red and green, while Goddess Subhadra uses red and black. All the chariots have separate features to distinguish from each other.
Lord Jagannath's chariot is called as Chakradhwaja or Nandhighosa, which simply describe about tumultuous and blissful sound. 45 feet tall, 16 wheels, 65 tons weigh, Garuda on its crest along with four white wooden horses are the specific features of Lord Jagannath's Rath.Lord Balaram's cart is called Taladhwaja, which means the sound of significantly powerful rhythm. It has 14 wheels, and is drawn by four black wooden horses. It carries Hanuman on its crest.Goddess Subhadra's cart is called Padmadhwaja or Darpadalan, which means destroyer of pride. It has a lotus on its crest, uses 12 wheels, and is drawn by four red wooden horses.
Cuisine: Maha Prasad
Time of Celebration: 23th June, 2020
Significance: Centuries-old festival which takes place in Jagannath Puri, India. It celebrates the return of Krishna (Jagannath) along with His brother and sister (Balarama and Subhadra) to Vrindavan, the place of the pastimes of His youth.
Location: Puri, also in other parts of Odisha
Travel Itineraries: Train/ bus/ cab from bhubaneswar