Jagannath Rath Yatra 2019: Some interesting facts that you must know
New Delhi, June 21: The Jagannath Ratha Yatra is a centuries-old festival which takes place in Jagannath Puri, India. The Rath Yatra is also known as Car Festival. An annual festival commemorates the journey of Krishna from Gokul to Mathura. It is held annually at Puri in the state of Orissa, during the month of June/July.
Ratha Yatra, also referred to as Rathayatra, Rathajatra or Chariot festival is any public procession in a chariot.
The term particularly refers to the annual Rathayatra that involve a public procession with a chariot with deities Jagannath (Vishnu avatar), Balabhadra (his brother), Subhadra (his sister) and Sudarshana Chakra (his weapon) on a ratha, a wooden deula-shaped chariot. It attracts over a million Hindu pilgrims who join the procession each year.
This year the Jagannath Rath Yatra will be celebrated on July 04.
There are various stories behind celebrating the Jagannath Rath Yatra. One of the tales is associated with King Subal who was a great devotee of Jagannath. He once asked a sculptor to create idols of Lord Krishna with his chariot at Kurukshetra, along with Krishna's brother Balaram and sister Subhadra.
The sculptor agreed on making the idols on the condition that he will work in a room in solitude to which the King agreed. But when the King didn't get to see the deities after waiting for long, in a moment of impulsiveness he opened the door of the room where the sculptor was working.
That's when the sculptor disappeared in a flash and all the King could see were the deities. It is said that it's the same idols at the Rath Yatra.
Significance and Benefits
Lord Jagannath is considered as one of the reincarnation avatars of Lord Vishnu. The word Jagannath is made of two words- Jaga meaning universe and Nath meaning Lord; it means Lord of the Universe.
The Rath Yatra is celebrated annually where Lord Jagannath along with Lord Balaram and Goddess Subhadra are taken on a yatra from the Jagannath temple in Puri to their aunt's home at Gundicha Mata Temple. While the idols are taken out on a Rath, their three chariots are pulled by devotees through the streets of Puri.
Devotees believe that pulling the chariots of their God during the procession is a way of engaging in the Lord's pure devotion and it destroys their sins which might be committed either knowingly or unknowingly.
How is it celebrated?
The temple food or mahaprasad, known locally as abhada, is pretty famous too -- just like the Puri temple is famous for its kitchen.
Large pots of food are placed on top of each other and cooked with wood fire and steam, starting from the top layer.
Ratha Yatra celebrated internationally too:
Ratha Yatra, also celebrated internationally in countries like Dublin, Moscow and New York, is to commemorate Jagannath's visit to Gundicha Temple through Mausi Maa Temple in Puri.