Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra Festival 2021 Odisha

Rath Yatra or Ratha Jatra is the massive Chariot Festival of Lord Jagannath celebrated at the Sree Jagannath Temple with a great zeal and religious fervor in the holy land of Puri in Orissa, India. Celebrated to honor Lord Jagannath (Lord Krishna), the presiding deity of Puri, this remarkable Hindu Car Festival lasts for around eight to ten days. Puri Ratha Yatra is the grand culmination of a series of festivities, celebrated on the second day of the bright fortnight of the month of Ashada (June - July), the fourth month in the traditional North India Hindu calendar. In 2021, Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra is on 12 July. 

Highlights of Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra Festival

During the annual Rathyatra, the three deities - Lord Jagannatha, Lord Balarama and Goddess Subhadra, with the celestial wheel Sudarshana, are taken out from the temple in a ritual procession to their respective chariots. The huge decorated chariots are drawn by millions of devotees to the Puri Gundicha Temple, situated about 2 km from Shree Jagannatha Temple. This festival is also known as Gundicha Jatra, Ghosa Jatra, Navadina Jatra and Dasavatara Jatra. The deities return to their abode after a stay for seven days.

The Chariots used for Jagannath Rath Yatra

Every year, the three chariots of Balarama, Subhadra and Lord Jagannath are newly built. Lord Jagannatha’s Chariot, called Nandighosa, is forty-five feet high and forty-five feet square at the wheel level. Its sixteen wheels are decorated with a cover made of red and yellow cloth.

Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra Festival Odisha

Taladhwaja, the Chariot of Lord Balarama, is forty-four feet and has a Palm Tree on its flag. It has fourteen wheels which are covered with red and blue cloth. The Chariot of Subhadra is known as Dwarpadalana. It is forty-three feet high with twelve wheels and is decked with a covering of red and black cloth. Black color is traditionally associated with Shakti and the Mother Goddess.

There are nine Parsva devatas found around each of the chariots. These are painted wooden images representing different deities on the chariots’ sides. All the chariots are attached to four horses which are of different colors. White colors for Balarama, dark ones for Jagannatha, and red ones for Subhadra. A charioteer called Sarathi.is there for each chariot.

Chandan Jatra - The Sandalwood Paste Festival

The construction of the chariots starts on Akshaya Tritiya, the third day of the bright fortnight of Vaisakha. Known as the sandalwood festival or Chandan Yatra (Chandana Yatra), this auspicious day marks the beginning of the summer festival of the deities, which lasts for three weeks. During Chandan Yatra festival, the representative images of the presiding deities are taken out in colorful processions. They are given a ceremonial boat ride in the Narendra tank for 21 consecutive days.

Snana Jatra

Snana Yatra festival marks the culmination of the sandalwood festival. Snana Jatra or the Bathing Festival is held on the full moon day of the month of Jestha. In this festival, the three deities are taken to Snana Badi, a bathing platform, where the deities are ceremonially bathed with 108 pitchers of water.

Subsequently, the deities are made to rest inside the sanctum sanctorum and undergo treatment in which special ayurvedic medicine and some special liquid diet (sarapana) is offered to them. They are closed to public view for 15 days and the pilgrims would have a darshan of images on the Pattachitra paintings hanged there. After this period of isolation, the deities come out of the temple in a colorful procession to board their respective Chariots. From then on begins the journey known as "Ratha Jatra”.

Ratha Yatra

The deities are then seated in their respective chariots. A ceremony called Chera Pahara, the ritual of sweeping of the chariots is held with a golden broom by the Gajapati King of Puri. The king arrives on a richly decorated palanquin from his palace. The procession then starts with Balabhadra's chariot, followed by Subhadra and then the Lord Jagannath's, pulled by large numbers of devotees to the Gundicha Ghar. On the way, deities are offered a special Cake called Podapitha, at the shrine of Goddess Aradhamsini.

After reaching Gundicha Mandir, the deities give darshan to devotees every day. They stay there for eight days and then return to Jagannath Temple with a similar procession. This is called Bahuda Yatra which is held on the tenth day of bright fortnight of Ashada month. The three chariots arrive at the Singhadwara in the late afternoon of the Bahuda day. On the next day, the Bada Ekadasi, the three deities are attired in costumes of gold ornaments and are worshipped by devotees. This form of the deities is known as the Suna Vesha or Bada Tadhau Vesha. The three deities go back to their original place of the temple, the Ratna Singhasana (Ratna Slnghasana), on the Dwadasi day. The arrival of deities into the sanctum sanctorum marks the end of the Rathajatra festival.

How to reach Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra Festival Location

By Flight

Biju Patnaik Airport at Bhubaneshwar, about 60 km away, is the nearest airport to reach Jagannath Temple.

By Train

Puri Railway Station is well connected with all the major cities of India.

By Road

Puri is well connected with other major towns and cities in India. Puri Bus Station is about 1 km from the Puri Railway Station. Regular buses connect Puri to Konark, Bhubaneswar, Berhampur, Taptapani, Sambalpur, Kolkata and other nearby towns and cities.


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