Ratha Yatra 2023

Ratha Yatra

Ratha Yatra of Lord Jagannath:
The Festival of Divine Mercy without Discrimination.

The Ratha Yatra, or Chariot Festival, is one of the most popular and important festivals in Hinduism. It is celebrated every year in the holy city of Puri in Odisha, India, and marks the annual journey of the deities Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra to their aunt’s home, the Gundicha Temple.

The festival is a time of great joy and celebration for Hindus, and attracts millions of pilgrims from all over the world. The chariots of the deities are elaborately decorated, and the procession is accompanied by singing, dancing, and music.

History of the Ratha Yatra:

The Ratha Yatra is believed to have originated in the 12th century, and is based on the legend of Krishna’s childhood. According to the legend, Krishna’s aunt, Subhadra, invited him to her home for a festival. Krishna agreed, but only if he could bring his brother, Balabhadra, and sister, Subhadra, with him.

The three deities set off for Subhadra’s home in chariots, which were pulled by devotees. The journey was long and arduous, but the deities eventually arrived safely. The festival was a great success, and it has been celebrated every year ever since.

Significance of the Ratha Yatra:

The Ratha Yatra is a symbol of the divine journey of the soul. The chariots represent the different stages of life, and the journey to Gundicha Temple represents the soul’s journey to liberation. The festival is also a time for Hindus to renew their faith and to celebrate their shared culture.

Celebrations of the Ratha Yatra:

The Ratha Yatra is celebrated over a period of 10 days. The festivities begin with a ritual bath of the deities, followed by a procession to the chariots. The chariots are then pulled through the streets of Puri by thousands of devotees.

The procession is a joyous occasion, and is accompanied by singing, dancing, and music. The deities are finally taken to the Gundicha Temple, where they reside for a week. The festival concludes with a grand procession back to the Jagannath Temple.

  • Nandighosha (Chariot of Jagannath)
    • It is the largest of the three chariots, and is decorated with a golden charioteer and a peacock.
    • It is pulled by 12 pairs of bulls, and is said to represent the sun.
    • The chariot is 45 feet high, 34 feet wide, and 34 feet long.
  • Taladhwaja (Chariot of Balabhadra)
    • It is decorated with a silver charioteer and a lion.
    • It is pulled by 14 pairs of horses, and is said to represent the moon.
    • The chariot is 44 feet high, 33 feet wide, and 33 feet long.
  • Devadalana (Chariot of Subhadra)
    • It is decorated with a copper charioteer and a garuda.
    • It is pulled by 16 pairs of elephants, and is said to represent the earth.
    • The chariot is 43 feet high, 33 feet wide, and 33 feet long.

The chariots are made of wood and are decorated with flowers, fruits, and other ornaments. They are pulled by devotees through the streets of Puri, and the journey is a symbol of the soul’s journey to liberation.

The Ratha Yatra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is a testament to the rich cultural heritage of India. It is a truly spectacular festival, and a must-see for anyone interested in Hinduism or Indian culture.

Why you should visit the Ratha Yatra:

The Ratha Yatra is a truly spectacular festival, and a must-see for anyone interested in Hinduism or Indian culture. The festival is a time of great joy and celebration, and is a truly unique experience.

If you are planning to visit India, I highly recommend that you try to time your trip to coincide with the Ratha Yatra. It is an unforgettable experience that you will never forget.

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