Puri is one of the four Dhams. Anyone who places their foot in this place is said to achieve “Moksha” (salvation) in their lifetime. Everyone must experience this holy celebration at least once in their lifetime in order to achieve “Moksha” (eternal salvation).
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One of the most anticipated and well-known festivals in India takes place in Puri, which is part of the Odisha state. It is known as the “chariot festival” or “Rath Yatra”. It is a yearly celebration that takes place in June or July. The festival is celebrated on the second day of the Sukla Pakshya Ashadha month, according to the traditional Odia calendar. It is devoted to Lord Jagannath (also known as Lord Krishna), his sister Goddess Subhadra, and his older brother Lord Balabhadra, who ride on a massive chariot to the Gundicha temple (also known as Aunt’s home). It is also known as the Dasavatara & Navadina Yatra, Chariot Festival, and Gundicha Yatra.
History of Rath Yatra
In Odisha’s Puri, the Jagannath Rath Yatra is organized. It’s claimed that Lord Jagannath makes a yearly trip to his hometown. There are several story tales connected to this festival, some of them include the following:
They were invited to Mathura to be killed by Lord Krishna and Balram’s maternal uncle Kansa. Akrura was dispatched by Kansa to Gokul on a chariot. Balram and Lord Krishna boarded the chariot and drove off for Mathura. The day of departure is observed as Rath Yatra by the faithful.
According to another story, Krishna’s cremation is connected to the Rath Yatra event. Balram is said to have been extremely devastated by Krishna’s passing and attempted to drown himself in an ocean beside Krishna’s mortal body. The same day, King Indradyumna of Jagannath Puri in another region of India saw a vision in which he was instructed to erect statues of Krishna, Balaram, and Subhadra when Krishna’s body floated up to the shores of Puri, which he should build statues of Lord Krishna, Balaram, and Subhadra.
When the King discovered Krishna’s ashes and began hunting for carpenters to make the figures out of wood, his prophecy came true. Vishwakarma, who is thought to be God’s architect, then appeared as an elderly carpenter and promised to complete the task on the condition that no one disturbs him while working, failing which he would immediately depart. However, as the months wore on, the King lost patience and finally opened the door to the space where Vishwakarma was working. Vishwakarma disappeared just as he had warned.
But King Indradyumna was unfazed by that. He continued to bless the unfinished statues and, as he had seen in his dream, put the ashes inside the idol’s hollow. The idols of Krishna, Balaram, and Subhadra were successfully placed, and ever since then, these statues have been pulled by three enormous chariots in a large procession.
The Jagannath Puri temple is perhaps the only one with three sibling statues. With the conviction that such pristine and lovely sights can only be seen in India, devotees worship these deities and take pleasure in the Ratha Yatra.
How to Celebrate Rath Yatra Festival
During this festival the three idols are visited at the Gundicha temple sitting with the most beautiful decorative chariots, accompanied by chants and conches and devotees. Before the Rath Yatra festival, the idols are bathed in 108 full buckets of water which are known as Snana Purnima. During this time period, they are placed in isolation as it is believed that they are ill. This event is known as Ansara.
– The royal succession of Odisha performs the sacred rite Chhera Pahara on procession day. Numerous crowds of locals and worshippers congregate near the temple. On this day the King is brought gods from the temple at the Chehra Pahara rite. The King himself sweeps the chariot, before setting them. This ceremony demonstrates that everyone is equal in God’s eyes.
– Three Lords stayed for 9 days at Gundicha Temple.
-After 9 days, they return to their house. The three Lords’ return journey is known as the “Bahuda Yatra.” They arrived at the Jagannath Temple in the evening and waited outside. Then next day the idols are dressed in new attire and wear a variety of gold jewelry on the following day, which is known as Suna Vesa. Following this day, the deities are once more brought into the sanctum sanctorum, and this is the end of Jagannath Puri’s Rath Yatra.
-The devotees come from various locations to attend the Rath Yatra each year.
Meaning of this Festival
Rich, poor, Brahmans, Sudras, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, and all other religious groups participate in this Rath Yatra and celebrate equally.
The Rath pulling ceremony is the most thrilling part of this event. During this festival, the body, mind, and spirit at that time were all resonating with spirituality. We experience different emotions. We can hear the sound of various Dhun, devotional music played on various instruments. Most people are dancing in a reverent manner. Everyone is moving, talking, and walking with holy joy.
All the services are freely available to everyone. And hundred of police platoons, fire departments, and special task forces are arranged there for devotees’ safety. There are numerous campgrounds set up where paying guests can stay. At the time of Rath Yatra, we may observe various handloom crafts from other cultures.
One of the big festivals to celebrate in the World. Anyone can’t explain this in words, you have to feel it instead of what the moment is like!
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