Every year on the auspicious day of Ashadh Sud 2, in early July, the Rath Yatra festival celebrated by Hindus. Rath means chariot, Yatra – a pilgrimage or procession. Though this festival is celebrated all over India and world, it originated in Jagannath Puri on the eastern coast of India. Every year the deities of Jagannath Mandir – Lord Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra – are traditionally installed on huge chariots. Devotees pull the chariots in a yatra (procession) through the street called Bada Danda. The local king used to serve humbly sweeping the road ahead with a golden broom.
Ratha Yatra 2003 1st July, Tuesday
Ratha Yatra 2004 19th June, Saturday
Ratha Yatra 2005 8th July, Friday
Ratha Yatra 2006 27th June, Tuesday
Ratha Yatra 2007 27th June, Wednesday
Ratha Yatra 2008 4th July, Friday
Ratha Yatra 2009 24th June, Wednesday
Ratha Yatra 2010 13th July, Tuesday
Ratha Yatra 2011 3rd July, Sunday
Schedule of rituals on Rath Yatra (Car Festival) – 3rd July 2011
4:00 AM : Aarati
4.25 AM : Mailam
6:00 AM : Rosha Homam, Surya Pooja
7:00 AM : Goopala Ballabha Darshan
7:10 AM : Pongal Naivedyam
8:45 AM : Establishment of Ratha
9:30 AM : Pahandi Yatra start (Journey of Deities from Shree Mandir to Ratha)
12:00 PM : Phandi Yatra end
1:00PM to 1:30PM : Puri King Divya Singh Dev Comming to Pallaki
1:45PM to 2:30PM : Chheraa Paharaa, Aarti
3:00PM to 3:15PM : Tag Hourses to Ratha
3:30 PM Onwords : Start of Rath Yatra (Three ratha move towords Gundichaa Mandir)
Amidst the resounding clash of cymbals, and the tumultuous thundering of drums, the three Gods, Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra leave Their abode, the Jagannath temple, and journey to Gundicha Mandir, three kilometers away from Jagannath temple towards north. Millions of devotees flock to the town to watch the trinity ride in their elaborate chariots through the streets of Puri. On all auspicious occasions, special ceremonies and rituals are performed replete with pomp and splendor in the temples of Puri, but nothing matches that of the Rath Yatra. Since the portals of the Jagannath temple allow entry only to Hindus, one of the gods, Maitri Devta, who symbolizes universal brotherhood, steps outside during this time so people of all religions and castes can pay obeisance. A spiritual ambience pervades the whole scene as bells chime; conch shells blow and the saffron robed sadhus dance with abandon. It is fascinating to watch the delirious masses paying homage to the Lord as the chariots move on almost as if propelled by a divine force.
A fortnight before the Rath Yatra, the three deities are given a holy bath on an open platform – the Snana Vedi near Aananda Bazaar on the eastern side of the temple. Since the images become discolored as a result of the bath, they are kept away from the public. At this time, the deities are said to be ill and are left to rest in isolation. A day before the procession, three gigantic chariots are exquisitely decorated and lined up outside the temple gates. Lord Jagannath’s chariot, the red and yellow Nandighosh, is about 45 feet in height with 16 massive wheels and a gold dome on top. The red and green Taladhwaj is only slightly smaller and belongs to Balabhadra. The smallest, Darpodalona belongs to Subhadra, who travels between the chariots of her two brothers. These grandiose structures, with brightly colored canopied tops, resemble the 12th century Jagannath temple in shape. Embellished and decorated with tinsel and ancient accessories, each of the chariots has a large platform covered with huge flower umbrellas. On the morning of the Yatra, the rhythmic clang of metal gongs, blowing of conch shells and trumpets and chanting of holy men fill the air as priests called Daityas bring out the bedecked deities to their rathas. Lord Jagannath makes his appearance first, amidst ecstatic cries of ‘Jai Jagannath’. The overwhelmed jubilant crowds work themselves into a state of devotional frenzy, as if hypnotized by the large eyes of their beloved Lord. The procession then awaits the arrival of the Gajapati or the King of Puri. The king comes in a traditional palanquin, following a procession of decorated elephants and horses. The King of Puri is a descendant of the royal family of Orissa and has complete control over the management and property of the Jagannath temple. He performs the Chhera Paharna, to express his humility before God. He sweeps the chariots with a gold broom and sprinkles holy water on them. There is a deafening roar of cheer as the procession inches ahead. Balabhadra the eldest brother takes the lead followed by Subhadra and Jagannath. The chariots are drawn by 50-metre long ropes attached to their front. Devotees surge ahead for an opportunity to give a hand in pulling the ropes, as it is believed that this will absolve them of all their sins and help them attain salvation. One of the unique rituals of this procession is the Lord’s visit to his aunt’s house. It is said that the three siblings do not like visiting their aunt who is said to be mean. However, the three go to the mashibari after being ritually scolded by the head priest.
Description Jagannatha’s ratha is marked with a cakra and garuda, is yellow in color, with four white horses. The protecting deity is Nrsimha. Baladeva’s cart is green, with a palm tree insignia, and four black horses. The protecting deity is Sesa. Subhadra’s cart is black, with lotus insignia, protected by Vanadurga.
Name of the Chariot Nandighosha Taladhwaja Devadalana
Presiding Deties Lord Jagannath Lord Balabhadra Devi Subhadra
Colour of The Cloth Yellow, Red Green, Red Black, Red
Height 33 Feet 32 Feet 31 Feet
No. of Wooden log used 832 763 593
Length and Breadth 34 Feet 6 Inch X 34 Feet 6 Inch 33 Feet X 33 Feet 31 Feet 6 Inch X 31 Feet 6 Inch
No. of wheels and their heights 18 (Now 16) / 6 Feet 16 (Now 14) / 6 Feet 6 Inch 12 / 6 Feet 8 Inch
No. of side deities 9 deities and the 2 door guard deities 9 deities and the 2 door guard deities 9 deities and the 2 door guard deities
No. of horses and their Colour 4 / White 4 / Black 4 / Red
Pahandi Yatra at Lord Jagannath Temple, Puri Pahandi tahia at Jagannath Puri rath yatra
Pahandi vijay of Jagannath at Puri(Orissa,India) car festival Pahandi of Balabhadra at Puri(Orissa, India) rath yatra
Pahandi of Subhadra at Puri(Orissa, India) rath jatra Suna besa of Lord Balabhadra (Rath yatra Puri)
Suna vesa of Lord Jagannath (Rath yatra Puri) Suna besha of Devi Subhadra (Rath yatra Puri)
Snana Yatra of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balavadra & Devi Suvadra