Jagannath Rath Yatra
|2023||19th -30th July 2023|
|2024||To be announced|
Jagannath Rath Yatra, the largest and oldest chariot procession in the world, is observed every year at famous Jagannatha temple in Puri, Odisha, India. Rath yatra is observed in few other cities of India, but when it comes to the pomp, grandeur, and fervour, Rath Yatra in Puri takes the centre stage. The rath yatra is celebrated on Shukla Paksha Dwitiya Tithi in the month of Aashadha as per Hindu calendar, which usually falls in the months of June or July, and it is celebrated with great pomp and show for 12 days. Jagannath Rath Yatra 2023 dates are from 19th July 2023 to 30th July 2023. To witness this grand festival of chariots, book a tour to Puri, Orissa at the earliest so as to avoid last-minute rush. Puri’s Jagannath Rath Yatra sees a huge gathering of tourists and devotees from all across the country, and even abroad, and every year, the number of people visiting the place during the rath yatra is increasing. The sacred Jagannath Temple is one of the Char Dham pilgrimage centres for the Hindus. Jagannath Rath Yatra is one of the best festival tours in India.
The Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra is the annual grand procession of Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Balabhadra and younger sister Subhadra from one temple to another. As per legends and ancient sacred tests, it is believed that sister Subhadra had expressed her desire to travel to Puri. In order to fulfil her desire, Lord Jagannath and his elder brother Balabhadra took Subhadra in a royal chariot and moved her around in Puri as per her wish. Since then, this festival marks the annual ceremonial journey of Lord Jagannath, brother Balabhadra and younger sister Subhadra, from their home temple (Jagannath temple) to another temple (Gundicha Temple), which is considered to be their aunt’s home
As per Hindu mythology, Gods and Goddesses once stationed, are not supposed to be removed from their altar. The Jagannath Yatra is the only Hindu festival in which Lord Jagannath, Lord of the Universe, comes out of the temple for his devotees. In Jagannath Rath yatra, the three deities are brought out of their temple in a colourful procession to meet their devotees. They travel in their respective chariots, being pulled by the devotees from the Jagannath Temple to Gundicha Temple, where they stay for a couple of days.
Lord Jagannath‘s chariot is named Nandighosh and is 45 feet high with 16 wheels, Lord Balabhadra’s chariot is called Taladhwaja and Devi Subhadra’s chariot is called Darpadalana. There is a firm believe that whoever gets a chance to touch or pull the rope of Lord Jagannath’s chariot, he or she will be cleansed of all the sins committed in the past, knowingly or unknowingly.
Each day of the Jagannath Rath Yatra is celebrated in a unique way. It should be noted that rituals of Jagannath Ratha Yatra begin much ahead of the actual day. Approximately 18 days before the yatra, all the three deities are given a grand ceremonial bath known as Snana Yatra, which is observed on a Purnima Tithi. The significant events of the 12-day celebrations of the Rath Yatra are as follows:
- The first day marks the beginning of the rath yatra from Shri Jagannath Temple in Puri towards the Gundicha temple. One day before the Yatra, Gundicha Temple is cleaned by devotees. This ritual of cleaning Gundicha temple is called as Gundicha Marjana.
- The 5th day is referred as Hera Panchami, in which Goddess Lakshmi, the wife of Lord Jagannatha, visits Gundicha temple in search of her beloved husband. For 7 days, the deities reside in the Gundicha temple.
- On the eighth day, the doors of the temples are opened for devotees to see and offer prayers to the deities. This is referred as Sandhya Darshan or Navami Darshan. On the same day, the devotees prepare the return-back journey of the three deities back to Jagannath temple. This return-back journey is referred as Bahuda Yatra. During Bahuda Yatra, Lord Jagannath also makes a short halt at Mausi Maa temple which is dedicated to Goddess Ardhashini.
- On the 10th day, the three deities enter back to the Jagannath temple, their abode, and this is referred as Sunabesa.
- On the 11th day, a ritual is performed in which a special drink is offered to the holy chariots, referred as Aadhar Pana.
- The 12th marks the end of the Jagannath Yatra and is referred as Niladri Bije.
A very special arrangement is made every year by the government of Orissa to observe this grand ceremonial procession which is witnessed by lakhs of devotees from all across the globe. The ambience at the time of Rath Yatra with chants, hymns, prayers, drum beats being echoed all around, is just so pure and beautiful. The large-sized chariots being decorated elaborately by the artists of Puri and being pulled by thousands of devotees is a sight that gives you goosebumps to see the enthusiasm of the people for the Yatra. It is indeed a journey worth taking once in your lifetime
Book a Jagannath Rath Yatra 2023 tour package to Puri, Orissa, India with the best inbound tour operator. Making a tour to Puri during Rath Yatra is worth as it is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a glimpse of this grandest of all festivals in India. You can also plan a tour to Puri for Jagannath Rath Yatra 2024 which will commence from 7th July 2024.