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Jagannath Rath Yatra 2022: Know why the auspicious festival is celebrated

The Jagannath Yatra is the only festival whose rituals allow Hindu deities to travel from the Jagannath Temple to Gundicha Temple, where they stay for a couple of days

Express Photo by Abhijit AlkaLord Jagannath yatra happens in Puri every year (Source: Express Photo by Abhijit Alka)

The famous Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra, also known as the Festival of Chariots, is believed to be the oldest and largest chariot procession in the world. It is observed every year as per the Hindu calendar. This year, the festival commenced on July 1 in Puri, Odisha and will end on July 12.

Apart from Puri, the auspicious Rath Yatra is also observed in various other cities with much pomp and fervour.

Bhagwan Jagannath Rath Yatra in Ludhiana. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh)

The Rath Yatra is unique for its three Hindu gods who are brought out of their temples in a colourful procession to meet their devotees. And, what makes this year special is that it will be the first time people will get to participate in the Rath Yatra physically after a hiatus of two years owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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History

Documented in Hindu sacred texts – Brahma Purana, Padma Purana, Skanda Purana and Kapila Samhita – it is believed that Subhadra, sister of Lord Jagannath, desired to travel to Puri. To fulfil her wish, Lord Jagannath, along with his elder brother Lord Balabhadra, left for Puri in a chariot with Devi Subhadra.

Since then, this festival marks the annual ceremonial journey of Lord Jagannath, brother Balabhadra and younger sister Subhadra, from their home temple to another temple which is considered to be their aunt’s home.

Significance

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In Hindu mythology, deities, once stationed, are not removed from their position. The Jagannath Yatra is the only festival whose rituals allow Hindu deities to travel from the Jagannath Temple to Gundicha Temple, where they stay for a couple of days.

Devotees pull the rath of Lord Jagannath in New Delhi. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

All three chariots have their own name. While Lord Jagannath‘s chariot is named Nandighosh, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra’s chariots are called Taladhwaja and Darpadalana respectively. These chariots are pulled by devotees and it is believed that touching the rope of Lord Jagannath’s chariot will cleanse all the sins committed, knowingly or unknowingly.

Important dates

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July 1, 2022: The Jagannath Rath Yatra begins from Shri Jagannath Temple in Puri towards the Gundicha temple.
July 5 2022: Hera Panchami (The first five days during which deities reside in the Gundicha temple)
July 8, 2022: Sandhya Darshan or Navami Darshan is when the devotees can see and offer prayers to all the deities.
July 8, 2022: Bahuda Yatra is the period during which the deities begin returning back to their home.
July 10, 2022: Sunabesa is when all the three deities reside back in the Jagannath temple.
July 11, 2022: Aadhar Pana is a ritual during which a special drink is offered to the holy chariots.
July 12, 2022: Niladri Bije marks the end of the Jagannath Yatra.

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First published on: 02-07-2022 at 06:45:10 pm
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