Jagannath Rath Yatra is a major religious event in Odisha and is huge in other parts of India as well. This is one of the most important festivals for the devotees of Lord Krishna.
During this festival, people carry the idols of three deities, i.e., Lord Krishna and his two siblings from Jagannath temple to Gundicha temple every year after bathing the idols and offering their prayers. This festival has a huge place in the hearts of the Hindu devotees and hence they give utter value to Jagannath Rath Yatra. It takes place in Puri in the month of June or July.
The origin of Jagannath Rath Yatra dates back to the 12th century. Its detailed account can be found in Hindu sacred texts such as Padma Purana, Brahma Purana, and Skanda Purana. As per the legend, on this day, Lord Jagannath went to Gundicha Temple via the home of his maternal aunt (now Mausi Maa Temple).
Lord Jagannath, however, did not go there alone, he visited there with his sister Subhadra and elder brother Balabhadra. The day is now celebrated every year with a Jagannath Rath Yatra where the Lord’s idol is seated on the chariot along with his two siblings. The grand procession that takes place has a huge significance all over India.
The festival is all about taking the idols of Gods in a grand procession that attracts followers from all over India. People offer flowers and fruits to Gods and happily carry them to worship. Thousands of people gather to take the idols in decorated chariots.
Niladri means Lord Jagannath and Bije translates to enter. So this ritual, in whole, translates to the homecoming of the deities. The Trinity is offered Rasagola Bhog before they enter the temple. After performing this ritual only are the devotees allowed to have darshan in the temple.
There is a legend behind performing this ritual. Goddess Lakshmi once got very concerned because her husband Lord Jagannath, after telling her that he would return in a couple of days, hadn't returned home for 5 days. It is believed that he went to the Gundicha Temple to be with his siblings. To search for him, she went there in a beautifully decorated palanquin. And, apparently, that this is the reason why devotees too carry the idols to the temple in a palanquin.
The main idea of Jagannath Rath Yatra is reincarnation. To symbolize it, the old idols of the temple are destroyed and are replaced by the new ones. The whole affair is performed in sheer secrecy. Even the priest who performs the ceremony and chants is blindfolded all through throughout the ritual.
Source: Sourabha Mohanty
The Jagannath Rath Yatra is performed in Puri city of Odisha. It is mainly famous for having one of the Char Dhams – Jagannath Temple. The city is located at a distance of 1,725, 1,456, 1,707, 499 km from Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Kolkata respectively. Here’s how you can get there.
The nearest airport to the city is in Bhubaneshwar which is 60 km from there. This airport also goes by the name of Biju Patnaik Airport. This is the primary airport in the state of Odisha, serving Bhubaneshwar. It is also named after the former CM of Odisha, Biju Patnaik. Opened in 1962, it is the 15th busiest airport in India. It is also under the AAI (Airport Authority of India).
Delhi - Board Air India, IndiGo, Vistara, Spicejet flights from Indira Gandhi International Airport. The airfares start from Rs.5,000
Mumbai - Board Air India, Go Air, Spicejet from Mumbai Airport. The airfares start from Rs.10,000
Kolkata - Board Spicejet, Air India, Go Air flights from Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport. The airfares start from Rs.3,000
Madurai - Board Spicejet, Air India, IndiGo from Madurai airport. The airfares start from Rs.9,000
The Puri railhead is connected to various major cities of the country. The railway station was opened about 123 years ago in 1897. It was renovated in 2012 and is now equipped with all modern-day facilities. Here is how you can reach Puri by the train network.
Delhi - Board Purshottam Express from New Delhi Railway Station and deboard at the Puri Railway Station
Mumbai - Board LTT Puri Express from Lokmanyatilak T and deboard at the Puri Railway Station
Kolkata - Board Shatabdi Express from Howrah Junction and deboard at the Puri Railway Station
Chennai - Board MAS Puri Express from MGR Chennai CTL and deboard at the Puri Railway Station
If you live near Puri, you can very well take the road route. Following is some information on the road routes that you can take.
Konark - 38 km via Puri-Konark Marine Dr
Bhubaneswar - 69 km via Badshahi Rd/Cuttack - Puri Bypass Rd
Balasore - 252 km via NH16
Rourkela - 400 km via Badakera - Cuttack Rd
Raipur - 581 km via NH53
Kharagpur - 395 km via NH16