Jagannath Rath Yatra 2021 | Rath Yatra | Puri Rath Yatra | Puri Tourism | Odisha
History of Rath Yatra
According to Hindu Panchag every year from the temple of Lord Jagannath in Puri, a grand and huge Rath Yatra is organized on the Shukla Paksha Dwitiya of Ashadha month. According to the English calendar, the Rath Yatra is organized every year during June and July. Millions of devotees come to Puri every year from home and abroad to participate in the Rath Yatra.
The idols of Lord Sri Jagannath, his elder brother Balabhadra and younger sister Subhadra are taken in huge chariots from the Sri Jagannath Temple to the ancient Gundicha Temple, located a few kilometres from the Jagannath Temple, during the Rath Yatra. (The Gundicha temple was built by the wife of Indradyumna, the ruler of Puri).
The Gundicha temple is believed to be the home of Lord Jagannath’s aunt, and Lord Jagannath along with his siblings visit his aunt’s house every year for 9 days rest. At the time of the rath yatra, Lord Jagannath, the deity of his brother and sister, is set apart in 3 huge chariots made of wood. These huge chariots made of wood are pulled by devotees who come to participate in the chariot journey.
It is believed that by pulling the chariots of God at the time of the chariot journey, one gets freedom from sins and attains salvation. The Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath to be held in Puri has been mentioned extensively in mythological texts like Padma Purana, Brahma Purana, Kapila Samhita and Skanda Purana. Rath Yatra was also organized by Maharaja Ramsingh of Jaipur during the 18th century.
Apart from Puri, the Rath Yatra was also organized by the rulers of Parlakhemandi and Mayurbhanj in Odisha. But no other Rath Yatra gained as much popularity as the Rath Yatra organized in Puri. Many historians have mentioned in their books the Rath Yatra organized by the kings of the Ganga dynasty after the completion of the construction of the Jagannath Temple around 1150 AD.
According to historical evidence, the Rath Yatra organized in Puri is one of the Hindu festivals celebrated by the Hindus, which people in western countries first came to know.
Story of Puri Rath Yatra
The names of Lord Shri Krishna and Radhaji are taken together, and to this day all the temples of Lord Shri Krishna are built-in which most of the temples have the idols of Lord Shri Krishna and Radha installed together. But the statue of Radha with Lord Jagannath (Shri Krishna) has not been installed in the home of Sri Jagannath Temple in Jagannathpuri.
Rather, the temple of Lord Jagannath along with his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra is installed in the Sri Jagannath temple. At the time of the Rath Yatra, separate chariots of Lord Jagannath along with his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra are prepared.
The legend of Puri, associated with the establishment of the Deity of Lord Jagannath and his siblings in the Sri Jagannath temple and the chariot journey continues to be heard in a very beautiful way. According to the legend, Lord Sri Krishna is sleeping in his palace of Dwarka with his wife Rukmani and other queens, at that time Lord Krishna starts calling Radhe-Radhe in his sleep.
Rukmani and other queens were very surprised to hear the name Radhe-Radhe from the mouth of Shri Krishna. Even after completing his night sleep, Lord Krishna does not let any kind of emotion appear on the words spoken in his sleep. Rani Rukmani and other queens of Lord Krishna learn that when Lord Krishna lived in Vrindavan, he used to spend more time with a gopika named Radha.
Rani Rukmani and other queens felt that even after we did so much service to Krishna, he could not forget Radhaji, then the reason for this should be asked to Mata Rohini. Mata Rohini was well aware of all the pastimes created by Lord Krishna while living in Vrindavan.
Rani Rukmani and all the queens gather and go to Mata Rohini, and requests Mata Rohini to describe the time and pastimes spent by Lord Krishna with Radhaji. Initially, Mata Rohini makes a lot of effort to avoid all the queens but in a short time she gives up in front of the stubbornness of Lord Krishna’s queens.
Before telling about Lord Krishna’s pastimes, Mother Rohini tells the queens to put Shri Krishna’s younger sister Subhadra on the guard outside the room so that no one can enter the room while narrating the story. Even if it is not Lord Krishna himself and his elder brother Balaram. Shortly after Mata Rohini starts the story, Lord Krishna and Balarama are coming towards the story room, then their sister Subhadra stops them near the door of the room.
While narrating the story, the voice of Mata Rohini is heard outside the room to the three siblings. Listening to the leelas of Lord Krishna, the three siblings get engrossed in the story and get overwhelmed. Listening to the story, the three siblings reach such a state that their hands and feet were not visible after watching any of the three carefully.
The Sudarshan Chakra of Lord Shri Krishna also faded at the time of storytelling and took a long shape. The three siblings reached such a glorious position when Mata Rohini described Radhaji. After some time when Narada Muni arrives, the three siblings come back to normal.
But at the same time, Narada Muni prays to Lord Krishna that I have seen all three of your siblings and your Sudarshan Chakra in the form of Lean in the great spirit. Such darshan always sat on earth to see the common man. At the same time, Lord Krishna blessed Narada Ji that when the time comes, all three siblings will be established in this posture on earth.
Chandan Utsav | Chandan Yatra – Rath Yatra
The chariots are prepared in Puri for a special kind of wood for the journey of Lord Jagannath every year. Construction of wooden chariots for Rath Yatra is started on the day of Akshaya Tritiya, two months before Rath Yatra. Before the rath yatra, pooja is offered before starting the construction of the chariots.
The construction of the chariots begins in front of the main office of the Sri Jagannath Temple and the main palace of the Raja of Puri. During the Chandan Yatra or Akshaya Tritiya, the agricultural season starts in Odisha, farmers here start sowing in their fields at this time of the year.
The festival of Chandan Yatra is celebrated in Puri for three weeks (21 days). After Akshaya Tritiya in Odisha, it is believed that from this day onwards the summer festivals of the deities also begin. Representative statues of deities enshrined in all the ancient and major temples of Puri in the Chandan Yatra reach the Narendra tank in a separate procession.
On reaching the Narendra tank, the idols are given boat rides in the pond. Other forms of Lord Jagannath such as the representative idols of Ram-Krishna, Madan Mohan, Jagannath and Balarama are also part of the Yatra, along with representative statues of five major Shiva temples located in Puri.
In the Narendra tank, all these representative murtis are bathed in a small temple filled with water with sandalwood paste, perfume and flowers in a stone tub filled with water.
Bathing Festival (Snan Parv) – Puri Rath Yatra
Bathing Festival (Snan Parv) is celebrated on the full moon day of Jeth month according to Hindu calendar in Jagannath temple of Puri. On the day of the bathing festival, the Deity of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra are brought out of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.
These three Deities are installed on a high throne near the wall built in the east direction of the Jagannath temple. After setting on the throne, Lord Jagannath and his siblings are bathed with water brought from the well. In the process of bathing the god, 108 batches of water are bathed.
Lord Jagannath and his siblings become ill due to bathing with cold water. For about two weeks thereafter, darshan of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra are stopped for common devotees. The three famous Patta Chitras and the famous Anasara Pattis of Odisha (Anasara Patti’s paintings are painted on starch-adorned fabric) to hide the deity of Lord Jagannath and his siblings from devotees during the bathing festival.
A hardcover is made with the help of bamboo so that the devotee cannot see Lord Jagannath. At this time only leaves, fruits, roots and berries are given to the three Deities so that they become healthy at the right time. This ritual shows how much importance is given to the old tribal values along with the origin, beliefs and development of Jagannath cult.
The daughter of Sardar Biswabasu of the original tribal and hunter family of Puri. And Lalita, the daughter of a Brahmin priest, is regarded as a Daitypati and Daitya. Both of them are privileged to serve Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra during the Rath Yatra.
Chariot Construction for Rath Yatra – Jagannath Rath Yatra
In Puri, three wooden chariots are built every year for Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra for the Rath Yatra. The wood of trees such as Dausa, Fasi is mainly used by carpenters for making chariots. The wood used for chariot construction is brought from Dasapalla, a former princely state of Odisha.
Members of the carpenter family who build the chariot have hereditary rights to build the chariot. For years, members of the same carpenter family have been building chariots. The logs used for chariots are brought from the Mahanadi flowing in Odisha. These wooden logs are then brought to Puri by road. When the wooden logs reach Puri, the chariot construction work is started according to the prescribed plan.
The carpenter takes about two months to build the chariots for the rath yatra. After decorating all the three chariots beautifully, they are erected on a Bada Danda in front of the eastern gate of Sri Jagannath Temple, also known as Singhdwar. Nine demigod deities are built around each chariot.
Very beautiful paintings of different gods and goddesses of Hinduism are also made using very beautiful paintings on each chariot. Three chariots have one charioteer and four horses.
Chera Pahara Ritual – Rath Yatra
The important ritual that is first performed before the commencement of the Rath Yatra is called Chera Pahara. The process of Chera Pahara ritual is performed twice during the Rath Yatra. The Chera Pahara ritual is first performed a day before the rath yatra begins and again when Lord Jagannath comes back from his aunt’s house after nine deen to the Sri Jagannath temple.
During the chariot journey, the king of Puri is dressed as a scavenger to complete the Chera Pahara ritual. After wearing the costumes of a scavenger, he sweeps around the three chariots with water. In the process of sweeping the chariots, the king first cleans the road for the chariots with a broom made of gold.
He then makes a lap of sandalwood and puts it on the road. According to local custom, the king of the Kalinga kingdom is called Gajapati. And furthermore, the title of Gajapati is considered the highest in his empire. Despite being the most powerful person in the Kalinga Empire, Gajapati offers his service to Lord Jagannath every month.
In the Chera Pahara ritual, when the Gajapati king disguises a scavenger and completes the ritual, it shows that there is no difference of any kind between a Gajapati king and a devotee in front of Lord Jagannath. There is also a belief among the residents that the chariots cannot be moved from their place until the Gajapati Chera Pahara ritual is completed.
Nav Jubna Darshan – Puri Rath Yatra
Lord Jagannath, who fell ill after the bathing festival, is formalized before his rath yatra begins, with his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra recovering. After the Lord is healed, the Deities of all the gods are painted in fresh colours. The Deity of Lord Jagannath and his siblings is prepared in a traditional way for the Rath Yatra.
Along with colouring God in new and fresh colours, his eyes are also stained with a traditional ritual process. The ritual of colouring the eyes of God is called “Netrotsav”. After the completion of this ritual, Lord Jagannath and his siblings are now fully recovered. Now devotees of Lord Jagannath can see him.
When Lord Jagannath returns to his devotees after being recuperated from his illness, it is called Nav Jubna Darshan. At this time thousands of devotees come to Puri to see Lord Jagannath. Usually, the darshan of Lord Jagannath starts from noon in this festival and Lord Jagannath can be seen till late night.
This ritual is known as Pahandi when Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and younger sister Subhadra are brought out from the main sanctum sanctorum of Sri Jagannath Temple for the Rath Yatra. At the time of the Pahandi ritual, a large number of devotees play the bells, the bells and the Kahli from the sanctum sanctorum of the temple to the chariots standing near the Sinhgadwar.
For the rath yatra, Lord Jagannath’s Sudarshan Chakra first comes out of the temple’s lion gate and takes his place on the chariot of Subhadra. After the Sudarshan Chakra Balabhadra’s Deity comes out of the temple and takes his place on the chariot. After Balabhadra, Subhadra takes her place on the chariot and in the last, Lord Jagannath takes his place on the chariot.
The procession of the Rath Yatra begins shortly after Lord Jagannath sits on the chariot. As the procession of the Rath Yatra progresses, the traditional Odissi dance and mridanga are performed by the artist attending the procession. Apart from these presentations, when the Jaighoshas are chanted by devotees in the name of Lord Jagannath, the atmosphere of the chariot journey becomes even more devotional.
After the rath yatra begins, Lord Balabhadra’s chariot Taladhvaja leads the way. The total height of Taladhwaj Rath is 34 feet and it consists of 14 wooden wheels. The height of each wheel of the chariot is 7 feet. Lord Balabhadra’s chariot is covered with red and indigo cloth.
The charioteer of the Taladhvaja chariot is named Matli and has four white-coloured horses made in front of it. Behind the chariot of Lord Balabhadra, the chariot of Mother Subhadra is called Darapadlana. The chariot of Mata Subhadra is 46 feet in height and the chariot consists of 12 wheels with 7 feet height made of wood.
The Darpadalana chariot is covered with black and red cloth. The charioteer of the Darpadlana chariot is named Arjuna and four horses of red colour are formed in front of the chariot. At the end of the rath yatra, Lord Jagannath’s chariot is Nandighosh. The Nandighosh chariot has a height of 45 feet and this chariot consists of 16 wooden wheels.
Each wheel of the chariot has a height of 7 feet. Lord Jagannath’s charioteer is named Daruka and four dark horses are made on the chariot. Lord Jagannath’s chariot is covered with red and yellow cloth. All these chariots are pulled by lakhs of devotees who come to participate in the Rath Yatra.
During the Rath Yatra, many traditional and cultural performances are given by local people and artists. During the Rath Yatra, the atmosphere of Puri becomes even more devotional due to the variety of cultural performances as well as the sound of the instruments coming together.
The Rath Yatra, which started at noon from the Jagannath Temple, reaches Gundicha Temple by night. After reaching the Gundicha temple, the Deities of the three gods remain in their chariots till the next day. On the next day of the Rath Yatra, the Deities of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Mata Subhadra are installed in the sanctum sanctorum of Gundicha Temple.
The Darshan of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Mata Subhadra in the Gundicha temple during the nine days of Rath Yatra is called Aadap Darshan. In ancient times, a river used to flow between Jagannath temple and Gundicha temple. Because of this, 6 chariots were built for the Rath Yatra at that time.
From the first three chariots, the chariot journey went from the Jagannath temple to the banks of the river and after that, the three deities crossed the river from the other three chariots to the Gundicha temple.
Jagannath Lord’s maternal aunt’s house – Gundicha Temple
Gundicha Temple is also considered to be the home of Lord Jagannath’s aunt and besides this temple is also called Janakpur. Lord Jagannath assumes the form of an avatar every day during his nine-day stay in the Gundicha temple. All these incarnations of Lord Jagannath are related to the Dashavatar of Lord Vishnu.
In the Gundicha temple, Lord Jagannath’s Deity is treated like a human being. At his aunt’s house, Jagannath Lord Jagannath becomes ill after eating delicious and different types of dishes. To make Lord Jagannath speedy, he is offered a meal of diet. Lord Jagannath recovers very quickly with the help of diet.
Hera Panchami – Jagannath Rath Yatra
On the third day of Lord Jagannath’s stay at his maternal aunt’s house during the Rath Yatra, Mata Lakshmi arrives at the Gundicha Temple, looking for Lord Jagannath in the palanquin. Upon reaching the Gundicha temple of Mata Lakshmi, the door of the temple is closed by the gatekeeper.
Mata Lakshmi gets angry by closing the temple door and breaks the wheel of Nandighosh, the chariot of Lord Jagannath. Mata Lakshmi then angrily returns to her temple Hera Gohiri Sahi. After Mother returns to her temple, Lord Jagannath goes to calm her anger.
To calm the anger of Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Jagannath takes with her many jewellery, gifts and delicious sweets. Mata Lakshmi’s anger subsides after being celebrated by Lord Jagannath for a long time and after that slogan of Lord Jagannath’s Jayaghosh are raised in the temple. The day celebrated by Lord Jagannath to Lakshmi Ji is called Vijayadashami.
When Lord Jagannath returns to Sri Jagannath Temple after completing his nine-day stay, this journey is often called Bahuda Yatra. Before Devshayani Ekadashi it becomes very necessary to return to Lord Jagannath’s Shri Jagannath Temple. Because after Devshayani Ekadashi, Lord Jagannath goes into sleep for four months.
Often during the journey, Lord Jagannath stays for some time in the temple of Goddess Ardhasini. The Goddess Ardhasini Temple is also called the temple of Lord Jagannath’s aunt’s mother.
In 1460, King Kapilendra Deb of Puri donated a large amount of gold to the Sri Jagannath Temple after coming victorious from the war. Since that day, every year after the Rath Yatra, Lord Jagannath is given gold jewellery weighing about 208 kg.
The ritual of wearing gold ornaments to Lord Jagannath is called Sona Besha. At the time of Sona Besha ritual, lakhs of devotees come to Sri Jagannath temple to see Lord Jagannath. The Sona Besha ritual held on 9 July 2014 was witnessed by about 9 lakh devotees.
After a long journey, when Lord Jagannath returns to the Sri Jagannath temple, he stops in a chariot for a day. And then the next day they are set back in the sanctum sanctorum of Sri Jagannath Temple. The ritual of installation of Lord Jagannath’s Deity in the sanctum sanctorum of Jagannath temple is known as Neeladri Bijaya.
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