Ratha Yatra festival is also known as the Festival of Chariot, Car Festival, Dashavatar Yatra, Gundicha Jatra, Navadina Yatra and Ghosa Jatra which is celebrated every year in India with great enthusiasm, joy and happiness by the people. This festival is fully devoted to the Hindu God, Lord Jagannath and specially celebrated in Puri in the Orissa state of India. It is held annually at 2nd day of the bright fortnight of the month of Ashad (also called as Ashad Shukla Dwitiya).
This festival is celebrated to commemorate the Lord Jagannath on annual basis which involves the holy visit of the Lord Jagannath and completes at Gundicha Mata temple passing through the Mausi Maa Temple of Balagandi Chaka, Puri).
The whole Ratha Jatra process involves the holy procession of Hindu deities Lord Puri Jagannath, Goddess Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra to the Gundicha Mata Temple.
After nine days people bring Hindu deities with Ratha Jatra to the same place means Puri Jagannath temple. The returning process of Ratha Jatra to the Puri Jagannath temple is called as Bahuda Jatra.
Ratha Yatra 2019
Rath Yatra festival 2019 was celebrated in India on 4th July, Thursday.
Rathyatra is a festival of chariot, particularly celebrated in Puri Jagannath in the Indian state of Odisha. This year the festival was reverently celebrated on Thursday, June 4 2019. Though, the festival is celebrated in other East Indian states as well, it is the Puri festival that is the most grand and significant of them all.
This year too, millions of devotees from across the country and also world, witnessed the chariot processions of Lord Jagannath (Vishnu’s reincarnation), Lord Balabhadra (Vishnu’s brother) and Subhadra (Vishnu’s sister) along with the Vishnu’s weapon – Sudarshana Chakra. The chariot carrying Lord Jagannath is called “Nandighosa”, and has a height of 45 feet.
The huge chariots of the deities were placed over the Grand road in Puri on the morning of June 4th, near Jagannath temple from where they were pulled by devotees, to Gundicha Temple. Millions of devotees and tourists have gathered throughout the stretch of the road to witness the procession.
Ritualistic worships and veneration of the God’s was performed by the priests, since the early morning hours. The chariot pulling began at around 4 P.M. today. The three chariots were beautifully adorned with garlands, flowers and diyas (earthen oil lamps).
Drummers, trumpet blowers and traditional dancers made the procession look more grand and beautiful. Local administration had also made elaborate arrangements for the security of devotees as well as the tourists coming from various corners of the world.
It is considered extremely lucky to get a chance to pull the chariot; though, the chances were absolutely bleak, given that around 2 lakh devotees congregate to witness the procession.
A rathyatra festival is also celebrated in the Indian holy city of Varanasi (Kashi), which closely resembles the rathyatra of Puri Jagannath, barring few exceptions. The three deities are taken on one chariot, which resembles the original one, but much smaller in size. Beginning on the same day of Puri Rathyatra, the Rathyatra of Varanasi is celebrated for three days.
History of Ratha Yatra Festival
Ratha Yatra festival is celebrated every year at second day of the shukla pakshya of the month of Ashad in the Orissa state of India at Puri to perform the procession of the Lord Jagannath chariots from the Puri Jagannath temple to the Gundicha Mata Temple through the Mausi Maa Temple. The chariots having the statue of Hindu God and Goddess are attractively decorated with colorful flowers. The procession held at Mausi Maa Temple for some time to complete the offerings.
The holy procession includes highly decorated three chariots (for Lord Puri Jagannath, Goddess Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra) much similar to temple which are pulled by the electric system or by the devotees throughout the streets at Puri. This festival is celebrated to complete the journey of Lord Puri Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra including their sister Subhadra to their aunt’s home means Gundicha Mata Temple.
This festival attracts a huge crowd of the devotees from all over the world to take part in the holy procession of the God as well as fulfill their heartily wishes. People involved in the chariots pulling sing devotional songs, mantras with the sound of drum.
Significance of Ratha Yatra Festival
Yatra is the most famous and ritual part of the worship in the Hindu religion. It may be of two types, one is the Yatra made by the devotees all around the temple and another one is the Chariot Yatra of the Hindu deities in a well decorated chariot from one temple to another.
Ratha Yatra is also the second type of the Yatra celebrated annually to perform the journey of Lord Jagannath with Lord Balabhadra and sister Goddess Subhadra from the Puri Jagannath temple to the Gundicha Mata Temple. It is considered that the Vamana avatar means the dwarf form of the Lord Vishnu was an incarnation of the Lord Jagannath (who is free from the cycle of birth and death).
Yatra is the most significant event occurred during the special and sacred occasions of the Hindu religion. Lord Jagannath is the Hindu deity whom incarnation was the Lord Krishna on the earth in the Dwaper Yuga. This special festival of holy journey of the chariot is carried out by the devotees, saints, scriptures, poets chanting the holy mantras and devotional songs.
People want to touch the chariot or even ropes pulling the chariot to be blessed by the God. Devotees sing a special Oriya song at this day while pulling the holy chariot on wheels.
How Ratha Yatra is celebrated in Puri
The whole festival celebration includes three huge attractively decorated chariots resembling temple structures drawn throughout the streets at Puri. This holy festival is celebrated for nine days by the Hindu devotees to commemorate the holy journey of the Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra including their sister Goddess Subhadra to the Gundicha Temple situated at 2 km distance from the Puri Jagannath temple.
During the festival celebration, millions of Hindu devotees from all over the world come to the destination to be the part of celebration and get blessed with lots of blessings of the Lord Jagannath.
People pull chariots by singing devotional songs on the sound of drums and trumpets including other musical instruments. The whole celebration of the sacred festival gets broadcasted live on the various TV channels all through the India and abroad.
Chariots construction works starts at Akshaya Trutiya in front of the Puri palace using woods of special trees such as dhausa, phassi and etc brought from the other state by the team of carpenter.
All the huge chariots are brought to the majestic temple at the Sinhadwara or Lion’s Gate. The chariot of the Lord Jagannath is entitled as the Nandighosa chariot having 45 feet height, 45 feet width, 16 wheels of 7 foot diameter and decorated red and yellow cloths. The chariot of Lord Balarama is entitled as Taladhwaja chariot having 44 feet height, 14 wheels of 7 foot diameter and decorated with red, blue or black cloths.