Jagannath Yatra at Puri

Context: Jagannath Ratha Yatra has begun in Puri in the current month of Ashadh.

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About the Jagannath Yatra

  • The Ratha Yatra, also known as the Ratha Jatra or chariot festival, is a magnificent Hindu celebration held annually in the city of Puri, Odisha, India. It is considered the oldest and largest chariot festival in the Hindu tradition, taking place during the bright half of the lunar month of Ashadh, which typically falls in June or July.
  • The festival revolves around the worship of Lord Jagannath, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu or Krishna, and his siblings Balabhadra and Subhadra. During the Ratha Yatra, the three deities are ceremoniously pulled in massive wooden chariots from the Jagannath Temple to the Gundicha Temple. The deities reside in the Gundicha Temple for a week and then return to their abode in the Jagannath temple (Bahuda Yatra)
  • The origins of the Ratha Yatra can be traced back to ancient texts such as the Brahma Purana, Padma Purana, Skanda Purana, and Kapila Samhita, which describe the grandeur of the festival. It is believed that participating in the Ratha Yatra and pulling the chariots grants immense blessings and spiritual purification.
  • The construction of the chariots is a significant part of the festival. Every year, the three chariots, named Nandighosa, Taladhwaja, and Darpadalana, are built anew using specific types of wood, such as phassi and dhausa. The skilled carpenters responsible for constructing the chariots have hereditary rights and privileges for this sacred task. The logs are collected near Puri after being set afloat as rafts in the river Mahanadi and are then transported by road to the city.
  • The chariots, adorned with vibrant decorations and intricate designs, stand tall on the Bada Danda, the Grand Avenue, near the eastern entrance of the Jagannath Temple. Each chariot has a charioteer, known as Sarathi, and is pulled by devotees with great enthusiasm and devotion. Alongside the chariots, nine Parsva devatas, painted wooden images representing various deities, add to the grandeur of the procession.
  • As the chariots begin their journey towards the Gundicha Temple, the air is filled with excitement and religious fervor. Devotees from all walks of life come together to pull the massive ropes, chanting the names of the deities and seeking their blessings. The procession moves along the bada danda, a two-mile stretch leading to the Gundicha Temple.
  • During the procession, the chariot of Lord Jagannath, Nandighosa, makes a significant stop near the crematorium of Bhakta Salabega, a Muslim devotee. This pause symbolizes the harmony between different faiths and pays tribute to the devotion of Salabega. It serves as a reminder of the all-encompassing nature of the divine.
  • On the return journey from the Gundicha Temple, the deities make a special halt near the Mausi Maa Temple, also known as Aunt’s abode. They receive an offering of Poda Pitha, a type of pancake believed to be Lord Jagannath’s favorite delicacy. This act of offering food to the deities signifies the bond between the devotees and the divine, fostering a sense of love and devotion.
  • The Ratha Yatra is not just a one-day event but a culmination of various rituals and festivities that span a period of 42 days known as Chandan Yatra or Sandalwood Festival. During this time, preparations for the chariot construction commence. The festival is divided into two halves – Bahar Chandan and Bhitar Chandan. Bahar Chandan involves colorful processions of representative images. 

Practice MCQ:

Q. With reference to the Jagannath Rath Yatra of Puri, consider the following statements:

1. It is an annual yatra from Jagannath Temple to Gundicha temple at Puri.

2. The returning home Yatra of this journey is called as Bahuda Yatra.

3. Ganga rulers of Odisha are well known to patronised this yatra.

How many of the above statements are correct?

(a) Only one

(b) Only two

(c) All three

(d) None

Scroll down for answer










Answer: (b)

Only statement 1 and 2 are correct.

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