Among all the festivals of Hinduism, Ratha Yatra is one of the most significant festivals. Every year, it is celebrated to commemorate the Lord Jagannath’s annual journey with his brother Lord Balabhadra and sister Subhadra to their aunt’s temple, the Gundicha Temple, in Puri, Odisha. Mainly it is celebrated in the Ashadha Shukla Paksha Dwitiya which refers the second day after the new moon in the month of Bengali month, Ashadha.
Ratha Yatra is celebrated all over India with great value. Hindu people of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh also celebrate this significant religious with joy and happiness. But the people of Orissa state of India at Puri celebrate it the most because of its historical significance which is related to the area. However, this program is also known with different names like Festival of Chariot, Car Festival, Dashavatar Yatra, Gundicha Jatra, Navadina Yatra, and Ghosa Jatra.
Rath Yatra 2021
As it is celebrated on the second day after the new moon in the month of Bengali month, Ashadha, in general, it comes at the late or early in June. So, it is in the rainy reason. This is why, in 2021, it is supposed to be celebrated on 1th July, Friday.
History of Ratha Yatra Festival
The historical significance of the Ratha Yatra is great in one word. About history, there are lots of chapters and writings in different books. Popular and significant religious books like Brahma Purana, Padma Purana, and Skanda Purana are the witness of the history of the holy journey of the Lord Jagannath.
The whole festival is like a memorial to the deity of Hinduism, Lord Jagannath. People with belief in Hinduism and Buddhism worship Lord Jagannath. For the Hindu belief, Jagannath is a form of their Lord Vishnu. Literally, the word Jagannath stands for the ‘Lord of the Universe’. In the sanctum of the Jagannath temple, the idols of Jagannath alongside his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra are worshipped in general. But during the month of Ashad, people bring them out with great honor to travel three kilometers to the Gundicha Temple. The people carry them in three huge and decorated chariots.
However, it was an event of the dates back to the twelfth century. Lord Jagannath and his brother and sister were used to visiting their aunt Gundicha Mata. It was about three kilometers and they stayed there for about nine days. This is why people also bring the idols back to their temple after nine days. So, the main aim of this festival journey is to complete the Hindu Lords journey.
Significance of Ratha Yatra
Ratha Yatra is always celebrated with great value and significance. Hindu people with different race and age come together to celebrate this event. They decorate the temple and especially the chariots with tons of flowers and other decorative objects. But the most important things which can be noticed here is their respect and love for their deities. The chariots are carried out by the devotees, saints, scriptures, poets who use to recite the holy mantras and devotional songs.
People celebrate this event with two kinds. Here, one is Yatra. Yatra is made by the devotees in the temple with. The next one is the Chariot Yatra. It is made for the Hindu deities. Three well-decorated chariots are made for those three deities’ idols which are taken from one temple to another. People also walk with the deities’ idol and the whole way they sang and often dance for praising their lords and also for some entertainment. People also want to touch the chariots and think that it is a medium to get their Lords’ blessings.
Ratha Yatra has also a second type of the Yatra. It is mainly celebrated annually to complete the journey of Lord Jagannath with Lord Balabhadra and sister Subhadra. The journey is held from the Puri Jagannath temple to the Gundicha Mata Temple. This time, it is considered that the Vamana avatar was an incarnation of the Lord Jagannath. The Vemana avatar stands for the dwarf form of the Lord Vishnu.
How Ratha Yatra is celebrated in Puri?
In Puri, Ratha yatra is celebrated in the most special form because of the places’ historical importance. Because it is believed that the Lord Jagannath’s annual journey with his brother Lord Balabhadra and sister Subhadra to their aunt’s temple, the Gundicha Temple was held here. So, in Puri, it is celebrated in the most festive form. So, people think that this place holds great importance and so, if they can manage to come in Puri to celebrate this Ratha Yatra, they will get the blessing of their Lords. So, Puri Ratha Yatra is quite different from the other Rath Yatra in India.
FAQ about Rath Yatra
Q. Who is Lord Jagannath?
A. The word Jagannath means the “Lord of the Universe“. He is the Lord or deity, worshipped by the people who believe in Hinduism and Buddism. He is taught to be the form of Lord Vishnu.
Q. What is the name of Jagannath Rath?
A. The Rath of the Lord Jagannath is known as Nandighosa. It is a rath with 45 feet height, 45 feet width, 16 wheels of 7-foot diameter.
Q. How many wheels does Jagannath Rath have?
A. The rath of the Lord Jagannath includes 16 wheels of 7-foot diameter.
Q. Who built Jagannath Puri?
A. King Indradimna was the ruler of Puri who built Puri before the 12th century. But King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva who was the first of the Eastern Ganga dynasty rebuilt the present Jagannath temple on 1161.
Q. Who is the wife of Lord Jagannath?
A. Mahalaxmi is the wife of Lord Jagannath.
Lord Jagannath is one of the highly respected deities in Hinduism and Buddism. As a remembrance of the Lord’s annual journey, Ratha Yatra includes great importance. Moreover, it is significant to increase brotherhood and equality among the devotees. Also, it has become a part of Indian culture now, which is a witness of the respect and belief of Hindu people in India.