Jagannath Rath Yatra – more famously known as the Car festival of the Hindus, has an extreme uniqueness associated with it. The mythology and the rituals of this festival happen to be very deeply connected with the relationship with God. This Hindu ritual of Jagannath Puri Temple witnesses a huge number of people from around the world and forms one of the major sacred gatherings. It is known as the Shreekhetra Dham of India.
On 2017 the festival falls on June 25th. The world famous Jagannath Ratha Yatra Festival is celebrated every year on the 2nd day of Shukla Paksha (cycle of moon) in the month of Asadh, the 3rd month according to the lunar calendar followed in some parts of India. The icon of Lord Jagannath, Lord Baladeva and Subhadra are a carved and decorated wooden stump with large round eyes and with stumps as hands. It is made of wood, which is an exception to common Hindu iconographic deities of stone.
Dwitiya Tithi Begins = 04:21 on 25/Jun/2017
Dwitiya Tithi Ends = 01:01 on 26/Jun/2017
Atmanam rathinam viddhi sareeram rathamevatu
Buddhim tu saarathim viddhi marah pragrahameva cha.
The body is the Chariot and the soul is the deity installed in the chariot. The wisdom acts as the charioteer to control the mind and thoughts.
Courage and tenacity are wheels of the Ratha
Immutable truth and character are its flags,
Strength, discrimination, self-control, and charity
are the horses pulling the Ratha
Forgiveness, mercy, and equanimity are the reins, and
Devotion to the Lord is its Sarathi.
With such a chariot one can surely traverse Samsara(Material Existence). Know about chariots of Rath Yatra: Significance of Chariots of Rath Yatra
The car festival ritual is a long process and includes many significant days until the end. It commences just after Akshaya Tritiya and ends when the Gods and Goddesses return back to the temple. It starts much earlier when the construction and decoration of the Chariots are done. More than 600 trees, or 400 cubic meters of wood, are needed for the construction, taken from the local forests, along with the banks of the Mahanadi River. Using the same simple tools and procedures as they have for the past hundreds of years, once the basic elements are made, such as the wheels, the actual construction begins only a few weeks before the festival. Coinciding with the Rath Yatra festival at Puri, similar processions are organized all around the world.
The ultimate essence of the Ratha (chariot) stories is that the Jiva should unwarrantedly surrender to the Supreme Sarathi – God or the God-realised Soul, if he wishes to successfully traverse the Yatra of life from Samsara.(Material Existence).
FULL-TIME TABLE OF 25TH JUNE 2017
- Chaka Aparasa- 4 AM
- Mangala Alati- 4.30 AM
- Mailam- 5 AM
- Abakasha- 6 AM
- Dasa Avatara Thakura Bahuda Bije- 6.30 AM
- Tati Phita- 7 AM-8 AM
- Dhuadhoi, Chuna Lagi- 8.30 AM
- Daitapati Sarvanga, Bandapana- 9.30 AM
- Netrotsav Bandapana- 10 AM
- Rosha Homa- 10.30 AM
- Raja Niti- 11 AM
- Yatrangi Mahasnana : 11.30 AM
- Mailam Lagi : 11.45 AM
- Ghanta Chhata Sarvanga- 12 AM
- Surya Puja- 12.15 PM
- Dwarapala Puja- 12.30 PM
- Vesha Sesha- 12.45 PM
- Gopala Ballav, Ghanta Chhata, Sakala Dhupa (Kotha Bhoga)- 1 PM to 2 PM
- Bhoga Mandap Utha- 1.10 PM
- Ratha Agyanmala Vije- 2.10 PM
- Bhoga Mandap Sesha- 2.30 PM
- Mailam, Yatrangi Mahasnana, Ghanta Chhata Sarvanga and Vesha Sesha- 3.30 PM
- Madhyanna Dhupa- 4 PM
- Dwadasha Yatra Bandapana- 5 PM
- Dwitiya Bhoga Mandapa (if necessary)- 5.15 PM
- Dakhini Ghara Bhoga- 5.45 PM
- Mailam, Vesha Sesha- 5.45 PM-6.15 PM
- Sandhya Alati- 6.30 PM
- Sandhya Dhupa- 7 PM
- Trutiya Bhoga Mandapa- 7.10 PM
- Ankuraropana- 8 PM
- Mailam- 8.45 PM
- Chandan Lagi- 9.30 PM
- Badasimhara Vesha- 10.30 PM
- Pahuda Alati- 11 PM
- Shrimukha Khandua- 11.15 PM
- Bahuta Kanta- 11.30 PM
- Senapata Lagi- 12 PM to 5 AM
Odisha Puri Rath Yatra 2017 Full-Time Table:
Date : 25th June 2017
- Mangala Alati : 6 AM
- Mailam : 6.10 AM
- Tadapa Lagi : 6.30 AM
- Rosha Homa : 6.30 AM
- Abakasha : 7 AM
- Surya Puja and Dwarapala Puja : 7.30 AM
- Gopala Ballav and Sakala Dhupa (Khechudi Bhoga) : 8 AM-9 AM
- Ratha Pratisha : 9.30 AM
- Mangarpana : 9.45 AM
- Pahandi : 10 AM
- Pahandi Sesha : 1 PM
- Madan Mohan Vije : 1 PM to 1.30 PM
- Chita Lagi : 1.30 PM
- Vesha Sesha : 1.45 PM
- Chhera Panhara : 2 PM
- Charamala Phita, Ghoda Sarathi Lagi : 2 PM-3 PM
- Rathatana (pulling of the chariots) : 3.30 PM
On the day of Jyestha Purnima , Dev snana is performed. In this the Lord is taken to a place inside the Jagannath temple known as “Snana Mandap” by performing Pahandi (the swinging motion travel of God from one place to another). He is made to have a bath with 108 vessels of water taken from a specific well.
The God suffers from fever
Right after the bath, Lord Jagannath suffers from fever. According to the rituals, the temple is closed for 15 days since he is unwell. These 15 days become a matter of concern for the ardent devotees who want to see him. This period is known as ‘Anabasara’ or ‘Anasara’ in the local language. After this period, people get the first glimpse of their deities on the day before Rath Yatra, on this day the deities are re-painted and brought to the main platform for the devotees to see and pay homage which is called ‘ Nava Yauvana Darshan’. This is also known as ‘Netrotsava’. Next day, the Ratha Yatra Festival is observed.
It is believed that during these 15 days the Lord resides in a place about 20-25 km’s away from Puri known as Brahmagiri. The form of Lord Jagannath worshiped here is known as Alarnath. In these 15 days, authentic food is prepared similarly to Puri Mahabhog. People come in huge numbers to seek the blessing of the God.
The famous Rath Yatra
Soon after Lord Jagannath gets well, he wills to pay a visit to his aunt’s place. This is when Rath Yatra is performed. Below mentioned are the details of the three chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Goddess Subhadra.
Details about the three chariots
The chariot of Lord Jagannath is known as Nandighosha. It is also known as Garudadhwaja and Kapidhwaja. The easiest way to identify the Chariot of Lord Jagannath is by color of the covering of the chariot. The chariot of Jagannath has a yellow and red color canopy and it is also the largest of the chariots.
- It is 45.6 feet high
- The chariot has 18 wheels
- The Chariot is known as Nandighosa
- Total number of wooden pieces are 832
- The color of cloth in the chariot are Red and Yellow
- The chariot is guarded by Garuda
- The charioteers name is Daruka
- The flags name is Trailokyamohini
- The Horses in the chariot are Shankha, Balahaka, Shveta, Hardashva
- The ropes used are Shankhachuda
- The nine deities presiding in the chariot are Varaha, Govardhana, Krushna, Gopi-Krushna, Nursigha, Rama, Narayana, Trivikrama, Hanuman and Radra
The chariot of Lord Balabhadra is known as Taladhwaja. The easiest way to identify the Chariot of Lord Balabhadra is by color of the covering of the chariot. The chariot of Balabhadra has a green and red color canopy and it is the second largest of the chariots. The Chariot has 4 horses and the color of the horses is Black.
- It is 45 feet high
- The chariot has 16 wheels
- The Chariot is known as Taladhvaja
- Total number of wooden pieces are 763
- The color of cloth in the chariot are Red and Blue
- The chariot is guarded by Vasudev
- The charioteers’ name is Matali
- The flags name is Unnani
- The Horses in the chariot are Tibra, Ghora, Dighashrama, Swamanava
- The ropes used are Basukhi
- The nine deities presiding in the chariot are Ganesh, Kartekeya, Sarvamangala, Pralambari, Halayudha, Mrutyunjaya, Natmvara, Mukteshwar, Sheshadeva
The chariot of Lord Subhadra is known as Devadalana. It is also known as Darpadalana and Padmadhwaja. The easiest way to identify the Chariot of Goddess Subhadra is by color of the covering of the chariot. The chariot of Subhadra has a black and red color canopy and it is also the smallest of the chariots. The Chariot has 4 horses and the color of the horses is red.
- It is 44.6 feet high
- The chariot has 14 wheels
- The Chariot is known as Devadalana
- Total number of wooden pieces are 593
- The color of cloth in the chariot are Red and Black
- The chariot is guarded by Jayadurga
- The charioteers’ name is Arjuna
- The flags name is Nadambika
- The Horses in the chariot are Rochika, Mochika, Jita, Aparajita
- The ropes used are Swarnachuda
- The nine deities presiding in the chariot are Chandi, Chamunda, Ugratara, Vanadurga, Shulidurga, Varahi, Shyama Kali, Mangala and Vimala
The famous festival that is celebrated usually in the month of June or July commences when the chariots of Lord Jagannath are accompanied by his elder brother Balabhadra and sister Devi Subhadra and are brought out onto the Main Street of Puri known as Bada Danda. The Chariots are then taken to the Shri Gundicha Temple to their aunt’s house where the deities enjoy nine days stay.
After the chariots get ready, there are many other in-house rituals which are conducted.
Akshay Tritiya festival marks the beginning of the famous Car Festival of Lord Jagannath. Akshay Tritiya festival is observed on the third day of the bright half of the lunar month of ‘Baisakha’ of the traditional Hindu calendar. On this auspicious day, the carpenters start building the chariots of Lord Jagannath, Balabadra, and Subhadra. This day also commences the famous Chandana Yatra
This ritual describes the travel of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra from the temple till the chariot. The Gods and Goddesses are picked by many Pandits. He is brought slowly to the chariot in a swinging motion. It seems as if he is very happy to come out of the temple and go to his aunt’s place. His happiness is reflected by the way he walks down till the chariot. The journey of the deities to the world outside, starts with an elaborate royal ritual called Pahandi – literally, going forward in a step by step movement to the accompaniment of several devotees beating the ghanta, kahali and telingi baja.
As Lord Jagannatha and Lord Balabhadra are quite heavy, a wooden cross is fixed to their backs and thick silken ropes are tied around their heads and waists for their ceremonial procession – a ritual known as Senapata lagi. The deities during the anasara period are actually placed in the audience hall – Jagamohana and not in the sanctum – or deal on the elevated platform, their normal seat. From there the deities are moved first onto the sata pahacha or seven steps, outside the northern door of the natamandapa or the dancing hall. During the outward movement from the temple to the chariots, the procession of the deities is in a row and is known as dhadi pahandi or a group movement. All the deities move simultaneously. At first Sudarshana, the celestial wheel of Krishna-Vishnu is brought out and placed in the chariot of Subhadra followed by Balabhadra, Subhadra and finally Jagannath.
The two brothers, Balabhadra and Jagannatha are decorated with large, elaborate floral decorations called tahia. These are like huge crowds or tiara but are fixed at the back of their heads. These are made of a variety of white, orange and lotus flowers, leaves and pieces of cork fixed to a semi-circular heart-shaped bamboo frame. The two brothers decorated with the things are carried forward in a slow, swaying movement, giving the illusion of a huge elephant gracefully and gently stepping out. People go wild with ecstasy and pull out the flowers from their tiara as blessings.
Before welcoming Lord Jagannath, all the deities in the chariot are worshiped. The horses, the devtas, the gods, and goddesses all form a part of this ritual. This procedure is termed as “Rath Pratistha”. Only after the completion of this ritual they are brought inside the Chariot.
It is the most famous ritual associated with the Jagannath Puri Rath Yatr. During the festival, the Gajapati King sweeps all around the deities and chariots. He then cleanses the road with a broom (gold-handled) and sprinkles sandalwood water and powder. The custom showcases that in the eyes of Lord Jagannath every devotee is equal be it the king or a commoner. This ritual is held on two days, firstly on the Rath Yatra Puri when the three deities goes to their aunt’s house and lastly on the day when they are ceremoniously brought back to the Puri Temple.
People engross in different cultural activities and go wild in ecstasy. They perform cultural dances, sing music, perform activities like dancing on a stick, playing with fire and much more.
The Gundicha Temple (Mausima Mandir)
The deities stay for a period of nine days and enjoy their vacations at their aunt’s house and have fun all the while. On their way back to the Temple, the deities are offered Poda Pitha when their chariots halt at the Mausi Maa Temple. This sweet is a kind of baked cake that is meant to be consumed by the poor sections only. During this time there’s a tale about the fight between Lord Jagannath and Goddess Laxmi where Laxmi gets angry because they do not take her along for the vacation.
Return of the Almighty
The brothers and sisters return back to the temple after a stay of 9 days at their aunt’s place. This is known as ‘Bahuda yatra’. This marks the end of the vacation of the Gods.
After they return, the chariots are kept in front of the Puri – Jagannath temple while preparations are made for a royal look of the Gods. “Suna Besa” is the form Lord Jagannath takes up along with his brother and sister. In this ritual, they are mounted with huge amounts of Gold jewelry and clothes made of Gold. It is believed that whoever sees the Lord in Suna Besa gets free of all his bad Karmas.
Then comes’ the very significant Niladri Bije. This is really interesting as it is all about the continuation of the fight between Lord Jagannath and Goddess Laxmi. Lord Balabhadra and Subhadra enter the temple after they return from the vacation but Lord Jagannath is not allowed to enter the temple. A fight happens between Lord Jagannath and Laxmi in front of the temple for a long temple. Goddess Laxmi allows him to enter only after he offered her ‘Rasgulas’ – an Oriya sweet made of curd cheese.
Here ends the enormous car festival of the Gods. The Rath Yatra at Puri is a significant event in the entire state that is witnessed by numerous tourists both foreigners and Indians. During the Rath Yatra, Puri is colored in the most vivid hues of sheer joy & enjoyment and is flocked with devotees who wish to pay their honor to the deities and seek their blessings.
How to Reach Puri Temple
The nearest airport to Puri is Biju Patnaik Airport, Bhubaneswar, which is around 60 km from Puri. The city is easily accessible from the airport. You can easily rent a cab. This airport is well-connected with important cities of the India such as Delhi, Nagpur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam and Chennai.
Puri is the last stop on the East Coast Railway. It is connected through direct express and other super-fast trains with important Indian cities such as Okha, Delhi, Tirupati, Kolkata, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and so on.
Puri is easily connected with road through a good network of roads. From the bus stand near the Gundicha Temple, buses from Bhubaneswar and Cuttack are available after every 10-15 minutes. Mini buses for Konark are also available from here, after every 20-30 minutes. Direct buses for Kolkata and Visakhapatnam are also available. Renting a cab is another option.
Related Topics on Lord Jagannath & Rath Yatra
Hera panchami – The Grand Fight Between Lord Jagannath And Laxmi
Suna Besa Of Lord Jagannath (The Gold Avatar Of God)