Facts About RathaYatra

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Rathayatra or the Chariot Festival is one of the greatest festivals of India. It is celebrated amidst great pomp and show and the rituals are carried out with great austerity.

Fact 1 Beginning Of Ratha Yatra
There are innumerable myths about the origin of the Chariot Festival. It is a belief that Lord Jagannatha is the incarnation of Lord Krishna who came to the earth to put an end to evil. Accordingly, it is believed that after Lord Krishna defeated King Kansa of Mathura, he rode on a chariot along with his brother and sister and gave darshan to his people. Another belief is that Lord Jagannatha and his kins travelled to their aunt’s house and stayed there for seven days. This journey is celebrated as Ratha Yatra and their return journey is celebrated as Ulta or Reverse Rathayatra.

Fact 2

The Jagannath Temple in Puri in Odisha, India is one of the most famous temples that is considered to be one among the sacred temples that stand in four directions of India – Rameshwar in the South, Badrinath in the Himalayas in the north, Dwarika in the west and Jagannath Temple in the east. This Temple has 3 statues of the deites Lord Krishna or Jagannatha, Balaram his brother and Subhadra his sister.

Fact 3 Celebration Of The Festival

The Ratha Yatra festival is celebrated in Puri every year in the month of June or July. It is the biggest festival in Odisha but it is celebrated in almost all parts of India and many other places in the world where there are devotees of Lord Krishna. Millions of devotees visit Puri during this time to get a glimpse of the 3 deities together. It is a festival that signifies integration and equality. On that special day, the deities are first worshipped inside the Temple and then they are taken out on their three respective chariots through the roads for everybody to touch the rope of the sacred chariot which is considered to be a holy act that washes away all sins.

Fact 4 The Chariots

Three chariots carry the three deities separately and each one is decked up gorgeously. The chariot that carries Lord Jagannath is known as the Nandighosh. It is a 45 feet high chariot that moves on 16 wheels that have a diameter of 2.13 meters. The second chariot carries Balaram and is called Taladhwaja. It is only 1 foot less than his elder brother’s chariot and has 14 wheels and Subhadra’s chariot is 43 feet high with 12 wheels and is called Padmadhwaja. Four wooden horses are attached to each of the chariots. They are all pulled by strong ropes that are made of the finest silken threads especially designed for the purpose and are extremely strong.

Fact 5 Construction Of The Chariots

The three chariots are constructed every year in Odisha. It is believed that a log of wood that comes floating in the waters of the Ganga all the way from the Himalayas is used to build these huge chariots. The chariots look like temples and are pulled along the streets of Puri by devotees with great enthusiasm. The chariots are covered with special covers that are stitched by about 14 to 16 tailors and approximately 1200 meters of cloth is required to make the covers.

Fact 6 The Deities

The deities are made of wood but they are not changed every year. They are bathed and cleaned and decked up with precious ornaments and exotic clothes every year and the idols are replaced after 12 to 19 years, the year in which there will be 2 Ashad months. This event is known as Nav Kalevar meaning a new body. They are exactly the same as the original idols.

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