Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra – The Vacation Of Gods! – Part 1
‘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 Jagannath Rath Yatra :- Significance of Chariots of Rath Yatra
The car festival ritual (rath yatra 2018) in Jagannath Temple is a long process and includes many significant days until the end. Rath Yatra commences just after Akshaya Tritiya and ends when the Gods and Goddesses return back to the Jagannath Temple. Jagannath Rath Yatra starts much earlier when the construction and decoration of the Chariots are done within close range of Jagannath Temple. 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 near Jagannath Temple. 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- Rath Yatra at close quarters of Jagannath Temple. Coinciding with the Jagannath Rath Yatra festival at Puri, similar processions are organized in each Jagannath Temple 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 Rath Yatra of life from Samsara. (Material Existence).
In Rath Yatra, on the day of Jyestha Purnima, Dev snana is performed at the centre of the Jagannath Temple. In this ritual, the Lord is taken to a place inside the Jagannath Temple sanctum 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 which is the starting custom of Rath Yatra at Jagannath Temple.
The God suffers from fever
Right after the bath, Lord Jagannath suffers from fever. According to the rituals, the Jagannath 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 in the starting phase of Ratha Yatra. 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 Jagannath 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’. Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra is also known as ‘Netrotsava’. Next day, the Ratha Yatra 2018 Festival is observed and starts from Jagannath Temple.
It is believed that during these 15 days the Lord resides in a place about 20-25 km’s away from Jagannath Temple 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 in the Jagannath Temple complex.
The famous Rath Yatra
During this Indian Festival– Ratha Yatra, soon after Lord Jagannath gets well, he wills to pay a visit to his aunt’s place which is very close to Jagannath Temple vicinity. This is when Jagannath 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 in Puri Rath Yatra. It is also known as Garudadhwaja and Kapidhwaja. The easiest way to identify the Chariot of Lord Jagannath is by colour of the covering of the chariot. The chariot of Jagannath has a yellow and red colour 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 colour 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 in Rath Yatra. The easiest way to identify the Chariot of Lord Balabhadra is by colour of the covering of the chariot throughout the Rath Yatra. The chariot of Balabhadra has a green and red colour canopy and it is the second largest of the chariots. The Chariot has 4 horses and the colour 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 in Indian Festival– Jagannath Rath Yatra is known as Devadalana in Jagannath Rath yatra. Rath Yatra 2018 is also known as Darpadalana and Padmadhwaja. The easiest way to identify the Chariot of Goddess Subhadra is by colour of the covering of the chariot during Rath Yatra. The chariot of Subhadra has a black and red colour canopy and it is also the smallest of the chariots. The Chariot has 4 horses and the colour 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 Indian festival- Rath Yatra that is celebrated in Jagannath Temple 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 close to Jagannath Temple known as Bada Danda. The Chariots in Rath Yatra are then taken to the Shri Gundicha Temple to their aunt’s house where the deities enjoy nine days stay away from Jagannath Temple
After the chariots get ready, there are many other in-house rituals which are conducted in this Indian Festival- Rath Yatra.