What is it?
Rath Yatra is an unusual festival in the memory of an 80 year old event. in the month of Ashada (rainy season in Odisha usually falling in June or July) this celebration takes place in the state of Orissa. Rath Yatra means a ‘chariot ride’ which is preserved as the gateway to heavens by the devotees. The ritual ride is observed in the Jagannath temple city of Puri in Orissa.
How is it celebrated?
The Jagannath temple is a trinity abode or dham dedicated to lord Krishna, his elder brother Balarama and their sister Subhadra. The images of the trinity are made of new wood and adorned in splendour. On the full moon day day of Ashada the images are taken out with the accompaniment of huge chariots in the streets. They are brought out onto theBada Danda (Main Street of Puri) and travel 3km to the Shri Gundicha Temple. This allows the public to have darsana – a Holy view. Once the chariots come on the road , the continuos movement of the participants do not allow the procession to come to a halt. The English word juggernaut was originated from Jagannath that is replayed to the massive and unstoppable “Ratha” carrying Jaggannath.
The chariots, which are built new every year, are pulled by devotees. The chariots are 45 feet high, 35 feet square and take about 2 months to construct. The artists and painters of Puri decorate cars and paint flower petals and other designs on the wheels, the wood carved charioteer and horses and the inverted lotuses on the wall behind the throne.
This ride is usually covered uphill and downhill track. The procession takes almost ten hours to reach its destination. Ratha -Yatra (Puri) in the state of Odisha, India is still the oldest, biggest and most visited Rath Yatra in the world. It attracts a “large crowd”.