Ratha Jatra (Odia:ରଥଯାତ୍ରା )

rath yatra

Ratha Jatra (Odia:ରଥଯାତ୍ରା )(Chariot Festival) is a Hindu festival related to Lord Jagannath that takes place at Shri Kshetra Puri Dham in the Indian state of Odisha. It is the most ancient Ratha Yatra, including descriptions in the Brahma Purana, Padma Purana, Skanda Purana, and Kapila Samhita. Rath Yatra, also known as Jatra, is the festival of Lord Jagannath, who is thought to be the Lord of the Universe’s pilgrimage to his aunt’s residence.

The festival honors Jagannath’s yearly journey to Gundicha Temple from Mausi Maa Temple (his maternal aunt’s home) in Saradha Bali, Puri.

This annual festival is held on Ashadha Shukla Paksha Dwitiya (the second day in the bright fortnight of Ashadha month).

RATHA YATRA, or the Chariot Festival: Every year on the second (Dwitiya) day of the Shukla pakshya (waxing cycle of the moon) of Āshādha Māsa, Puri, the temple town in Odisha, celebrates Shri Jagannath’s Chariots (3rd month of Odia calendar). The presiding deities of Puri’s main temple, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Goddess Subhadra, with the celestial wheel- Sudarshana Chakra (ସୁଦର୍ଶନ ଚକ୍ର ), are ceremonially removed from the temple to their chariots. The massive, colorfully decked chariots are drawn by a swarm of devotees on the bada danda, the majestic avenue leading to the Gundicha Temple (Gundicha-King Indradyumna’s Queen), which is two miles to the north. On the approach to Lord Jagannatha’s chariot, Nandighosa (ନନ୍ଦିଘୋଷ) stops near the crematorium of Bhakta Salabega, a Muslim follower, to pay him tribute.

The Chariots
Every year, new versions of the three chariots of Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra are built using wood from particular trees like phassi, dhausa, etc. A specialized group of carpenters with hereditary rights and privileges for the task typically transports them from Dasapalla, an ex-princely state, where they were previously used as furniture. Traditionally, the logs are floated in the Mahanadi River as rafts. These are gathered close to Puri and then driven there.
On the Bada Danda, the Grand Avenue, three chariots are displayed in accordance with a special pattern that has been specified and followed for generations. In front of the temple, close to its eastern entrance, also known as the Sinhadwara or the Lion’s Gate, the vast avenue is lined with chariots.
Nine Parsva devatas, painted wooden figures of various gods on the sides of the chariots, surround each of the chariots. There are four horses plus a charioteer (Sarathi) in each chariot.

Suna Besha(ସୁନା ବେଶ)
Deities are decked out in gold jewelry and worshipped in their chariots as they make their way back from the Gundicha temple to the main temple. The name of this event is Suna Besha. According to tradition, King Kapilendra Deb inaugurated this celebration in 1460 when, after returning from battle victorious, he gave gold to Jagannath. [4] Gold jewelry covering the deities weighs close to 208 kilograms. This event was observed by almost 900,000 devotees in 2014, and it took place on July 9.

Suna Besha(ସୁନା ବେଶ)

Hera Panchami
In the Grand Jagannath Temple in Puri, a rite known as Hera Panchami is performed around the time of the Rath Yatra. It is recognized as a Lakshmi ritual. Hera Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of Rath Yatra, or on the fifth day of the bright fortnight of Ashadha. Lord Jagannath departs on a holy journey during Ratha Yatra with his sister Maa Subhadra, brother Sri Balabhadra, and divine weapon Sri Sudarshana, leaving behind His bride Mahalaxmi. The Goddess vents her resentment at the Lord. She rides in a palanquin in the shape of Subarna Mahalaxmi to the Gundicha Temple’s Adapa Mandapa and threatens to bring Him back to the temple as soon as possible. The Lord gives Her what she wants by giving her agyan mala in order to make Her happy (a garland of consent). The sevakas close the Gundicha’s main door when they notice the Goddess in a rage. Mahalaxmi uses the Nakachana gate to enter the main temple again. The Goddess directs one of her servants to destroy a piece of the Nandighosa chariot as part of an unusual rite. She then retreats behind a tamarind tree in front of the Gundicha Temple. After some time, she secretly makes her way down Hera Gohri Lane, a distinct pathway, to her home temple. Numerous Lord Jagannath worshippers enjoy the special ritual.
The rituals of Hera Panchami are an important function of Srimandira found mentioned in Skanda Purana. According to the Temple’s history, Maharaja Kapilendra Deb oversaw the beginning of this “Utsav.” Prior to his rule, the Hera Panchami celebration was observed symbolically through mantra recitation. According to Madala Panji, Raja Kapilendra Deb replaced this custom by introducing a gold Mahalaxmi idol and making the festival more authentic.

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