Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

One of the oldest and biggest rath yatras of the country, Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra begins on July 6 and will come to and end on July 18. The journey of the deities Jagannath, Subhadra and Balabhadra from the Jagannath Temple to the Gundicha Temple on a chariot is what the festival is all about. The deities are taken from the main temple on a chariot that is pulled by a number of devotees. They are kept in there for nine days after which they make the return journey. This procession attracts thousands of pilgrims to the holy city of Puri in Odisha where the rath yatra takes place every year in the month of June or July. Also Read - Amid Delhi Violence, Amit Shah Offers Prayers at Puri's Shree Jagannath Temple Along With 3 Union Ministers

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This festival is one of the most important one and the procession is telecast live on the television for those who couldn’t be present to attend it. The tradition isn’t new and is mentioned even in our puranas or scripturesThe yatra is of Jagannath and his two siblings from their home to their aunt Queen Gundicha’s temple. The ride is for the three to have a meal of sweet pancakes that are Jagannath’s favorite. Devotees who are part of this ritual seek blessings of the lord and help the three make the journey. Also Read - Intriguing And Unexplained Mysteries of Jagannath Temple You Must Know About


Photograph: Shutterstock

There are several stories that point to the rath yatra festival but the one that is passed by word of mouth from one generation to the next goes like this. It is believed that when Krishna was being cremated in Dwarka, his elder brother Balrama was so much in grief that he jumped in the ocean with Krishna’s partially cremated body. Subhadra, their sister too followed him. At the same time, King Indradyumna of Jagannath Puri had a vivid dream where he learnt that he will find the lord’s body floating on the shores of Puri and that he should build a grand temple to house the three deities inside it. And his dream did come true as he found the bones of Krishna who is also Jagannath in Puri and he built a temple after the murtis of the two brothers and sister were carved by Vishwakarma, the architects of the gods. Also Read - Jagannath Yatra 2019: Know The Significance, Importance, Dates And Rituals About The Holy Festival of Orissa

Every year, the three of them are taken out on chariots for the annual procession. The murtis are also changed every 12 years but the rath or chariot is built anew every year. The nine-day long festival continues with much fanfare and pomp as devotees flock to seek blessings of the three gods.


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