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.
Jagannath Rath Yatra History
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. Thus, rath yatra history dates back to ancient times.
Date, Time & Venue of Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra
Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra is one of the largest religious congregations, spanning a period of 11 days. Instead of devotees visiting the Lord to seek his blessings, the Lord himself comes out of his sanctum to bless the believers. This annual chariot festival begins on the Dwitiya tithi in the Ashadha Shukla Paksha and continues for the next 11 days. The Jagannath Yatra in Odisha begins with the magnificent Puri festival.
Major Attractions Of Jagannath Rath Yatra
Rath Yatra in Jagannath Temple Puri is one of the most-awaited religious festivals in India. It draws a large number of devotees from all over the world who seek blessings from the Holy Trinity, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balbhadra, and Goddess Subhadra. It is a very rare gesture of divinity where Gods themselves come out from their sanctum to shower blessings on their devotees and mingle with them all. The major attractions of Jagannath Rath Yatra worth mentioning are-
1. Chandan Yatra. This day falls on Akshay Tritiya. Also known as Sandalwood Yatra, it continues for 42 days. This day also marks the sowing of seeds by the farmers for the upcoming harvest. The annual Rath Yatra begins on this day.
2. Snana Yatra. It is a bathing festival celebrated on Deba-Snana Purnima or the full-moon day of Jayestha month. It is the birthday of Lord Jagannatha and the three deities are brought out from the temple and taken to the Snana Bedi in a procession. They are properly bathed and decorated.
3. Pahandi. The pic journey of the Holy Trinity-Lord Jagannath, Lord Balarama, and Goddess Subhadra starts in an elaborate royal ritual, referred to as Pahandi. It means moving forward in a step-by-step movement on the beats of kahali, ghanta, and telingi baja. Watching the deities move ahead in a swaying movement looks as if a huge elephant is gently stepping out.
4. Chhera Pahanra.This is an elaborate and vibrantly colourful ritual. In this ritual, the King of Puri is informed about deities having taken place on their chariots through a messenger. Clad in spotless white, the young, dashing king steps out sitting on a silver palanquin. He gets down from the palanquins and climbs one chariot after another. After offering his prayers to the deity, he cleans the chariot platforms with a golden broom and sprinkles fragrant water and flowers on the chariot surface.
5. Hera Panchami. It is a famous Goddess Laxmi ritual where panchami means fifth day and hera means see. Celebrated on the fifth day of the chariot festival, Goddess Mahalaxmi’s representative idol leaves for Gundicha temple in a beautifully decorated palanquin to meet Lord Jagannath. It is a very exciting event because the Goddess is angry with her husband, Lord Jagannath. 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, this is the reason why devotees too carry the idols to the temple in a palanquin.
6. Suna Besha. There are 32 beshas or forms in total This form is done on Ashadha Shukla Ekadashi Tithi or the 11th day in Asadha’s bright fortnight. On this day, the Gods are decorated in beautiful and intricate Gold Jewellery.
7. Niladri Bije. Niladri means Lord Jagannath and Bije translates to enter. So this ritual, on the 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.
The main idea of Jagannath Rath Yatra is reincarnation. To symbolize it, the old idols of the temple are destroyed and replaced by new ones. The whole affair is performed in sheer secrecy. Even the priest who performs the ceremony and chants is blindfolded all through the ritual.
How To Reach Puri to Attend Rath Yatra
The Jagannath Rath Yatra is performed in Puri city of Odisha. It is mainly famous as one of the Char Dhams – Jagannath Temple. Puri attracts a lot of visitors all through the year but the numbers swell to an extraordinary extent during the annual chariot festival. The city is well-connected with different parts of the country and has diverse modes of transportation. Have a look at different transport options that will take you to this magnificent city.
Nearest Major City. Bhubaneshwar
Nearest Airport. Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneshwar
Nearest Railway Station. Puri Railway Station
Distance from Bhubaneshwar. 58 km
By Air. The nearest airport to reach Jagannath Puri Temple for the famous annual Rath Yatra is Biju Patnaik Airport. Many domestic and international tourists arrive at the destination to enjoy the magnificent temple, colourful festivals, heritage sites, architectural marvels, and more of Puri. Hire a taxi or a cab to arrive at the destination.
By Train. There is good connectivity of train routes from Puri Railway Station to all parts of the country. Puri has ten railway stations in all but the nearest one to reach Jagannath Temple is Puri Railway Station. Tourists can take a cab or an auto to the destination from the Railway Station.
Distance from Puri Railway Station. 1.3 km
By Road. You can consider traveling to Puri by road, depending on your geographical location. The overall road network, including national highways, is well-maintained and easily accessible. As per your convenience, you can choose to travel by state-run buses, cabs, or your personal vehicles.
Distance From Konark. 38 km via Puri-Konark Marine Dr
Distance From Bhubaneswar. 69 km via Badshahi Rd/Cuttack - Puri Bypass Rd
Distance From Balasore. 252 km via NH16
Distance From Rourkela. 400 km via Badakera - Cuttack Rd
A 3. 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.
Q 4. When is the annual Rath Yatra celebrated?
A 4. This annual chariot festival begins on the Dwitiya tithi in the Ashadha Shukla Paksha and continues for the next 11 days. The rath yatra begins from the magnificent Puri festival.
Planning to participate in the biggest religious spectacle in the world? Get in touch with a team of travel mavens at Adotrip.com and avail of end-to-end travel assistance, which includes flight bookings, hotel booking in Puri, bus tickets, etc.