Puri: A majestic chariot festival, Rath Yatra is a Hindu festival associated with Lord Jagannath held at Puri in the state of Odisha every year. However, due to the Covid-19 global health scare, the annual event got widely impacted. Last year, in a historic first, the iconic Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath was held in the pilgrim town without the usual sea of devotees and amid tight security in view of the surging coronavirus cases.Also Read - Snana Yatra: Lord Jagannath's Bathing Rituals Held Amid COVID Restrictions, Tight Security

Well, this year too, the much-awaited event will be held without devotees and with strict COVID protocols in place in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 infections.  The world-famous Rath Yatra will be held on July 12, this year, Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Chief Administrator Krishan Kumar said recently. Only servitors and temple officials will participate in the rituals. Also Read - Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra 2021 To Be Held in Puri, Devotees To Be Barred. Check Details

Check Out The Date, Timings, COVID Guidelines, Interesting Facts And More

Check Complete Schedule For Jagannath Rath Yatra 2021

  • The Snan Purinima on June 24, will start with the Pahandi (walking procession of the deities) at 1 am and end by 4 am.
  • The Chhera Pahanra (sweeping of the bathing place) ritual by Dibyasingh Deb, the titular king of Puri, is scheduled to be held at 10.30 am.
  • The deities will later be adorned with Gajanan Besha or Hati Besha (elephant attire) between 11.00 am and 12 noon.
  • The trinity- Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra, and Lord Jagannath – will be taken to the Anasara Ghar (sick room) as it is believed that they fall ill after taking the bath.
  • The return procession of the deities from the bathing pandal to the sick room inside the temple will take place between 5 pm and 8 pm. The Anasara (sick) rituals will begin from that day and continue for the next 15 days.
  • SJTA Chief Administrator Krishan Kumar said the world-famous Rath Yatra will be held without devotees on July 12.
  • On the Rath Yatra day, the chariots of Lord Jagannath and his divine siblings are pulled along the Grand Road and taken to Gundicha Temple (aunts house), 3 km from the 12th- century shrine, and kept there for a week till the day of the return car festival.
  • The Rath Yatra procession will start at 8:30 am while chariot pulling will begin at 4 pm on July 12.
  • The Lords Suna Besha (golden attire) will be held between 4 pm-11 pm on July 21.
  • The Niladri Bijee, the return of the trinity to the main temple, will be held on July 23. The procession will start at 4 pm and end at 10 pm.
  • The rituals will be performed with bare minimum servitors this year, Kumar said.
  • The administration of Lord Jagannatha temple in Puri is under the law department of the state government and the SJTA, which is responsible for management of the shrine.

7 Interesting Facts About Puri Rath Yatra

  • Annually, three giant separate wooden chariots are made of a kind of Neem tree for the deities Jagannath (ruler of the world), his elder brother Balbhadra (Balaram) and sister Subhadra.
  • Did you know Lord Jagannath’s Rath, Nandighosha (also known as Garudadhwaja, Kapiladhwaja) is about 44 feet tall? The chariot has 16 wheels, and the dominant colours used for that are red and yellow. Balbhadra’s chariot is called Taladhwaja and it stands tall at 43 feet. It has 14 wheels, and the colours used for decorating it are Red and Bluish-Green. Meanwhile Subhadra’s chariot has 12 wheels, and the colours associated with her are Red and Black. Her chariot is known as Darpadalana (Devadalana or Padmadhwaja), and it is 42 feet in height.
  • The world-famous Rath Yatra of Puri also finds a mention in ancient scriptures such as the Brahma Purana, Padma Purana, Skanda Purana and Kapila Samhita.
  • The ritual of bringing the idols of Jagannath, Balbhadra and Subhadra out of the temple and installing them in their respective chariots is called Pahandi. Interestingly, the King (known as the Gajapati), dresses like a sweeper and cleans the road with a golden-handled broom and water scented with sandalwood paste. This ritual is called the Chera Pahara. It is repeated on the last day of the Yatra as well.
  • The procession of the deities start from the temple and head to the Gundicha temple, built in the memory of the Queen of King Indradyumna, who built the famous Puri Temple. On the fourth day, Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Jagannath visits the Gundicha temple to meet her husband.
  • As per the tradition, the deities begin their return journey on Ashadha Shukla Paksha Dashami, a custom known as Bahuda. It is also called Dakshinabimukhi. According to the age-old custom, before returning to their abode, the Gods halt at Goddess Ardhashini’s temple to pay obeisance to her.
  • The concluding rituals of the Rath Yatra called Suna Besha, and Adhara Pana are conducted on the tenth and eleventh day, respectively. Suna Besha is a ritual when the Gods are decorated with gold ornaments. Last year, ornaments weighing about 200 kilos were worn by the deities. And the Adhara Pana is the sweet offerings made to the gods, after which they are taken around the city in a rath.

(With inputs from PTI) Also Read - Move Over Hong Kong, Lakh of Devotees at Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra Create Human Corridor to Allow Ambulance to Pass, Watch