Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra 2023: What Makes the Puri Festival so Unique?

Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra 2023

Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra 2023: What Makes the Puri Festival so Unique?

The Jagannath Yatra, commonly known as the Rath Yatra or Chariot festival, is a yearly celebration held in Puri, Odisha, India. It is one of the country’s most important and widely recognised Hindu festivities. Every year, millions of devotees from all over the world gather to see Lord Jagannatha.

According to the Hindu lunar calendar, the festival is observed on Dwitiya Tithi during Shukla Paksha of Ashada month. The Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra 2023 will take place on Tuesday, June 20th. It is a 9-day festival commemorating Lord Jagannath’s, Goddess Subhadra’s, and Lord Balabhadra’s return journey also known as Bahuda Jatra.

What is the Meaning of Jagannath?

Lord Jagannath’s name is a combination up of two words: “Jagat” or “Jagan” means “universe” and “Nath” means “Lord” or “Master,” which when combined means “Lord of the Universe.”

Lord Jagannath’s Origins and History

Lord Jagannath is known as Jagatara Natha, or Lord of the World, due to his divine mastery over the universe’s thirty-three crore gods and goddesses. Although numerous explanations surround the mysteries of his origin, there is no denying that he is the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu or Lord Krishna.

However, various authors’ extensive research into the myth, mystique, and historical evidence of Jagannath’s origins has revealed fresh facts. Lord Jagannath first appeared in Purusottama-kshetra “Nila Kandara” as a gigantic sapphire gemstone avatar called “Nilmani” or vigraha named “Neelamdhava.” After Neelamadhava vanished, the Lord reappeared in his current Chaturdha vigraha daru form. Lord Brahma explains the importance of the Lord’s emergence in wooden form.

The importance of Sapphire Stone?

While sapphire gemstones have astrological importance, there is no precise link or tie between the gemstones and Lord Jagannath in Hindu beliefs. Though people from few sections might consider there is connection.

Gemstones, particularly sapphire, are important in Hindu astrology and are said to have metaphysical characteristics. Different gemstones are associated with certain planets in Vedic astrology, and wearing them is said to offer favourable benefits and counter balance the negative effects of planetary positions.

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The Mythical History of Lord Jagannath

The mythical history of Lord Jagannath is centred around the ancient city of Puri in Odisha, as portrayed in Hindu scriptures and folklore. There are several stories related to Lord Jagannath, his siblings, and the Jagannath Temple.

Here’s a well-known mythological story :

Lord Jagannath’s legendary story is the account of the holy sibling triad embarking on their annual Rath Yatra or Chariot Festival. Every year, Lord Jagannath is said to want to return to his birthplace, the Gundicha Temple. Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Goddess Subhadra then rode in a chariot to Puri via his maternal aunt’s house, which is now known as the Mausi Maa temple. This is why, every year, the idols of Lord Jagannath, Subhadra, and Balabhadra are carried on a chariot known as the Jagannath Rath Yatra.

Thus, during the Rath Yatra, the deities are placed on huge chariots, which are carried by devotees in a magnificent procession from the Jagannath Temple to the Gundicha Temple and back.

The Rath Yatra is considered a symbol of togetherness and equality since people from all walks of life gather to participate in the procession and seek Lord Jagannath’s blessings.

These legendary myths and legends about Lord Jagannath have been passed down through generations and hold a major significance.

Rath Yatra Rituals and puja                  

Several significant rituals take place on this day. The following are the main rituals linked with Rath Yatra:

  • People cleaned their homes and decorated the idol with flowers adorned with sandalwood paste.
  • The deities are bathed in 108 jars of cold water containing various herbal and fragrant compounds.
  • Following that, pushpanjali offerings are offered to the deity, incense stick is lit for scent, followed by lighting an earthen diya.
  • Chariot processions are made by the deities, who are drawn by thousands of devotees through the streets of Puri towards the Jagannath Temple. The chariots move slowly while devotees perform chants, hymns, and dances.
  • People conduct aarti to the god and present coconuts and other prasad delicacies.
  • Diyas are lit, and droplets of Gangajal are sprayed before concluding the puja by burning camphor and conducting aarti with shankhnnad.

Benefits of worshiping Lord Jagannath

Worshiping Lord Jagannath, is thought to provide numerous benefits to its devotees.

  • Spiritual Enlightenment
  • Blessings and Safety
  • Desire Fulfilment
  • Liberation from Suffering
  •  Removes Obstacles

Conclusion :

Devotees worship and seek a personal connection with the deity, where they find solace, direction, and higher purpose. Rath Yatra is a significant representation of devotion, solidarity, spirituality, and tradition. It provides a sense of community, harmony, and spiritual upliftment by serving as a reminder of the divine presence in people’s life.

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