Jagannath Rath Yatra, Puri (Odisha) 2022: The Most Exclusive & Prominent Indian Festival
The rath yatra is Lord Jagannath’s yearly chariot event held in Puri, Odisha. It is regarded as the world’s largest chariot festival, with events taking place in a number of Jagannath temples around the world.
Puri is a Hindu pilgrimage destination to which many devotees pay close attention. This festival is held every year on the second day of the Shukla Paksha in the months of June or July.
In Odisha, the festival is a prominent annual event. The three statues are cleansed, dressed, and carried from Jagannath Temple to Gundicha Temple in a magnificent ceremony. Puri’s painted chariots, millions of worshipers singing, and conch blowing are all part of the unique Puri experience.
Every year, the Jagannath Temple hosts 148 festivals, including 12 yatras, 28 upayatras, and 108 ceremonial festivals. The Ratha Yatra celebration of Jagannath deva, held in the month of Asadha (June-July) each year, is the most well-known of these, gathering thousands of devotees from all over the world. This yearly Ratha Yatra is a unique opportunity for the general population, particularly the elderly and ailing, who are unable to visit the temple, to see their revered deities. Furthermore, such open religious festivals assuage anxieties of calamities and deaths, according to local beliefs and scriptures (Harita Smurti, ch vi, sloka16).
History of Jagannathan Rath Yatra
The history of the Jagannath Rath Yatra is covered in a variety of myths. The celebration is thought to have begun when Lord Jagannath’s sister, Subhadra, expressed a desire to travel to Puri (Odisha’s State). To fulfill Subhadra’s request, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Subhadra all rode in a chariot to Puri.
According to legend, Lord Vishwakarma carved the current statues of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Goddess Subhadra at the temple, known as Gundicha temple, from a wood log. The process took several months, and as Lord Vishwakarma was finishing the god sculptures, Queen Gundicha unlocked the temple door and Lord Vishwakarma vanished, leaving the statues unfinished.
Since that time, it is thought that Lord Jagannath and his siblings only leave the temple once a year to go to their birthplaces, as promised to queen Gundicha. The current Gundicha temple bears the queen’s name. About 3 miles separate the main temple from the Gundicha temple.
What makes Jagannath Rath Yatra so special?
The Rath Yatra is extremely important for anyone seeking spiritual merit and ultimate freedom. Anyone who assists others in pulling the rope tied to the deities’ chariots, or just touches the rope or chariots, is considered to acquire the merit of several penances. All of Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra’s belongings merge into the deity himself.
The goddesses are fed their favorite offering of Poda Pitha at this time. Non-Hindus and foreigners are welcome to visit the Gundicha Temple to see the gods and even participate in the offerings, which is a beautiful part of the yatra. On the third day of the Rath Yatra, Lord Jagannath’s devotees put on a play for thousands of people where Lord Jagannath and Goddess Lakhsmi have a quarrel in this drama. The Lord pays a visit to Gohiri Sahei’s Lakshmi shrine to woo Lakshmi back. After being reunited with her on Vijay Dashami day, the Lord returns to Shri Mandir with his siblings.
The sight of Lord Jagannath and his siblings at Gundicha Temple, it is said, cannot be in vain; it bestows the gift of a hundred horse sacrifices, which only the fortunate monarchs had the honor of doing in the past.
Perhaps no other Indian procession compares to the Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra.
Jagannath Rath Yatra: Rituals
The three rathas are fashioned as Rekha deul style temples and are currently distinguished by their size, color, and a number of wheels. Jagannatha’s Ratha (also known as Nandighosa) is a 16-wheeled vehicle with crimson and yellow decorations. Daruka is the ratha’s charioteer, whereas Sankhachuda is the ratha rope, and Sankha, Balahaka, Sweta, and Haridaswa are the four white wooden horses attached to it. Balabhadra’s Ratha (also known as Taladhvaja) is a 14-wheeled vehicle with red and green crimson.
Four black wooden horses connected to this ratha are Tibra, Ghora, Dirghasrama, and Swarnanabha. Arjun is the charioteer of Subhadra’s Ratha (also known as Darpadalana or Deviratha), which is red and black in color and has 12 wheels. The names of the four red wooden horses mounted to her ratha are Rochika, Mochika, Jita, and Aparajita.
The manufacture of new chariots begins on the auspicious day of the Akshay Tritiya, and the preparations for the Ratha Yatra begin early each year. Only during the Navakalebara celebration are charioteers, horses, temple kalasas, and parsha devatas created (new deity-making ritual). On Sri Gundicha day, when the Deul Purohit performs the Ratha Pratistha puja, a procession from the Jagannath temple shrine to the rathas commences, a tradition known as Pahandi.
In a procession, Sudarsana is taken first to Subhadra’s Ratha, followed by Balabhadra. Subhadra is taken to her ratha by the Daitapatis and other sevakas, and Jagannath is taken to his ratha by the Daitapatis and other sevakas. The Mahajan Sevakas then transport Madanmohan to the rathas, where Gajapati Maharaja performs the Chhera Pahamra (King of Puri). The king is dressed as a sweeper and undertakes the chore of sweeping (chhera) and cleaning (pahamra) all around the rathas with a gold-handled broom while sprinkling sandalwood powder and water. Following King Anangabhima III’s declaration of Sri Jagannatha as Odisha’s state god in 1230 CE, the kings became representative rulers (mudarasta) under the deity’s supreme over-lordship.
Despite the fact that monarchy is no longer in use, the primary Chhera Pahamra ritual is still the most important “royal duty” and is known as the Gajapati Maharaja Seva, making the Puri “Maharaja” an integral part of the festival even today. Chhera Pahamra is done on the first day of the Ratha Yatra and again on the last day of the yatra, when the deities are restored to the Jagannath Mandir. The rathas begin their journey after Chhera Pahamra and are dragged by a large number of worshippers to the Gundicha Temple, which is about 3 kilometers away, where the deities reside for nine days. In bahuda Jatra, the deities are returned to Jagannath Mandir in their respective rathas on the last day (ulta ratha yatra).
Ratha Yatra Life’s Journey to Moksha:
Surprisingly, this Ratha Yatra is also seen as a life journey undertaken in the pursuit of Moksha. In the Katha Upanishad (1:3:3:4), the ratha is a symbolical portrayal of a body, and the yatra represents the path taken in every life. The body (shareera) starts on a yatra (journey) after each birth in order to reach its ultimate objective (moksha); this yatra is called Rath Yatra.
The Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra is magnificent in more ways than one. It has been practiced by Hindus for a long time. Puri’s and Odisha’s identities have been symbolized through the Rath Yatra.
Jagannath Yatra: Important dates, times, and Events
The following is a list of some of the most important Jagannath Rath yatra 2022 ceremonies, along with the dates.
|Tuesday, 3rd May
|Tuesday, 14 June
|Wednesday, 29 June
|Sri Gundicha Yatra (Rath Yatra Starts)
|Friday, 01 July
|Tuesday, 05 July
|Friday, 08 July
|Saturday, 09 July
|Sunday, 10 July
|Monday, 11 July
|Tuesday, 12 July