JAGANNATH RATH YATRA 2022: One of the most prominent Hindu festivals, Jagannath Rath Yatra in Odisha’s Puri is held on July 1. Every year the festival is celebrated with all the traditional rituals on the Shukla Paksha Dwitiya Tithi of the Ashadha month according to the Hindu calendar.
On this day, Lord Jagannath, with his brother Lord Balabhadra and sister Subhadra, comes out of the 12th century temple and drives the chariots to Gundicha Temple. This is the only time in a year that the gods leave the sanctum sanctorum of the main temple and stay in the Gundicha Temple for 9 days.
Date and times
According to the Panchang, Rath Yatra is held on the Dwitiya Tithi of the Shukla Paksha in the month of Asshadha. This year, Dwitiya Tithi starts on June 30 at 10:49 AM and lasts until July 1 at 1:09 PM. Since the sun rises on July 1 in the Dwitiya Tithi, the festival is therefore celebrated on Friday.
History and meaning
It is believed that this is the only occasion of the year when Lord Jagannath, the lord of the universe, comes out of the temple for his devotees, those who cannot enter. According to another legend, as promised to Queen Gundicha, the former queen of King Indradyumna, Lord Jagannath visits the temple named after the queen once a year.
Every year, during the Rath Yatra, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra leave their permanent abode in the main temple and go to Gundicha Temple which is almost 3 km away from Jagannath Temple. Then they stay there for eight days. It is also believed that on the fourth day after Ratha Yatra goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Jagannath, comes to Gundicha Temple in search of the Lord.
After staying at the Gundicha Temple for eight days, on the ninth day the gods make a return journey to their home, which is known as Bahuda Yatra. The day is celebrated on the Shukla Paksha Dashami Tithi of the Ashadh month.
Before the Rath Yatra, Gundicha Temple is cleaned by the devotees of the Lord Jagannatha for his pleasant stay. On the day of the yatra, three different chariots are prepared for Lord Jagannatha, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra. The chariots of all three are pulled by a huge crowd to reach the destination.
The chariot of Lord Jagannath is called Nandighosha, the chariot of Lord Balabhadra is called Taladhwaja and the chariot of the goddess Subhadra is called Darpadalan. On the Rath Yatra day, the gods are taken to the chariots by the servants in a traditional procession known as Pahandi Bije.
After that, the king of Puri, known as Gajapati and first servant of Lord Jagannath, purifies the chariots. This is called Chhera Pahara, with the species sweeping the chariots. After this ritual, the chariots are drawn to the Gundicha Temple by the devotees.
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