July-6th puri jagannadha Ratha yatra.
Ratha-Yatra (Puri), at Puri in the state of Odisha, India is the oldest, biggest and most visited Rath Yatra in the world. It attracts a large crowd.
Triads are usually worshiped in the sanctum of the temple at Puri, but once during the month of Asadha (Rainy Season of Odisha, usually falling in month of June or July), they are brought out onto the Bada Danda (main street of Puri) and travel (3 km) to the ShriGundicha Temple, in huge chariots (ratha), allowing the public to have darśana (Holy view). This festival is known as Rath Yatra, meaning the journey (yatra) of the chariots (ratha). The Rathas are huge wheeled wooden structures, which are built anew every year and are pulled by the devotees.
The construction of the chariots starts on Akshaya Trutiya, the third day of the bright fortnight of Vaisakha, with ritual fire worship. This takes place in front of the palace of the King of Puri and opposite the main office of the Puri temple. On this day, the new agricultural season starts and farmers start ploughing their fields. This day also marks the beginning of the summer festival of the deities, also known as the sandalwood festival or Chandan Yatra, which lasts for three weeks. In this festival, the representative images of the presiding deities are taken out in colourful processions and given a ceremonial boat ride in the Narendra tank every day. In an interesting demonstration of the assimilative character of the Jagannatha cult, Madanmohana and Rama Krushna, representing Jagannatha & Balarama partake in the festival with the representatives’ images of the presiding deities of five main Shiva temples of Puri. These are curiously known as Pancha Pandava, the five brothers of the Mahabharata story. Later the deities have a ritual bath in a small temple in the middle of the tank, in stone tubs filled with water, sandalwood paste, scents and flowers. This sandalwood festival culminates in the Snana Yatra, the Bathing Festival on the full moon day of the month of Jestha. On this day, the presiding deities descend from their seats on an elevated platform in the sanctum sanctorum, the bejewelled throne. They are bathed in 108 pots of water brought from the suna kua, the golden well and assume the elephant form on the special bathing platform, close to the Eastern boundary wall of the temple. From that day the deities remain in symbolic and ritual convalescence for about two weeks.
The famous festival that is celebrated usually in the month of June or July commences when the chariots of Lord Jagannath accompanied by his elder brother Balabhadra and sister Devi Subhadra are brought out on to the Main Street of Puri known as Bada Danda. The Chariots are then taken to the Shri Gundicha Temple to their aunt’s house where the deities enjoy a nine days stay and are served with sweet pancakes. The return journey of Puri Jagannath Ratha Jatra is known as Bahuda Jatra.
The three chariots of Balarama, Subhadra and Jagannatha are newly constructed every year with wood of specified trees like phassi, dhausa, etc. They are customarily brought from the ex-princely state of Dasapalla by a specialist team of carpenters who have hereditary rights and privileges for the same. The logs are traditionally set afloat as rafts in the river Mahanadi. These are collected near Puri and then transported by road
- Lord Jagannatha’s chariot is called …..Nandighosa.
45-feet height and 45 feet square at the wheel level. 16 wheels. each of seven-foot diameter, and is decked with a cover made of red and yellow cloth. Lord Jagannatha is identified with Krushna, who is also known as Pitambara, the one attired in golden yellow robes and hence the distinguishing yellow stripes on the canopy of this chariot.
- The chariot of Lord Balarama, called the Taladhwaja, is the one with the Palm Tree on its flag. It has 14 wheels, each of seven-foot diameter and is covered with red and blue cloth. Its height is 44-FEET.
- The chariot of Subhadra, known as Dwarpadalana, literally “trampler of pride,” is 43 feet high with 12 wheels, each of seven-foot diameter. This chariot is decked with a covering of red and black cloth – black being traditionally associated with Shakti and the Mother Goddess.
Around each of the chariots are nine Parsva devatas, painted wooden images representing different deities on the chariots’ sides. Each of the chariots is attached to four horses. These are of different colours – dark ones for Balarama, white ones for Jagannatha, and red ones for Subhadra. Each chariot has a charioteer called Sarathi. The three charioteers attached to the chariots of Jagannatha, Balarama and Subhadra respectively are Daruka, Matali and Arjuna.
The Ratha Yatra festival has become a common sight in most major cities of the world since 1968 through the ISKCON Hare Krishnamovement. During the Rath Yatra, Puri is colored in the most vivid hues of sheer joy & enjoyment and is flocked with devotees who wish to pay their honor to the deities and seek their blessings. Ofer Butter to Balagopal.
Jai Sri Krishna
Sarvey janah sukhinobhavantu.