The Chariot festival, traditionally known as the Ratha Yatra, was originated in Puri in the state of Odisha, India. The festival is one of the biggest religious festivals in India, that has been celebrated for thousand of years usually during the month of June or July every year. The date is basically calculated as per the Hindu calendar. This year, the most awaited festival of Ratha Yatra commences on the 6th July, Wednesday. So, happy Ratha Yatra everyone!!!
Here are few details you need to know about this grand celebration:
The Ratha Yatra starts with many rituals and prayers followed by thousands of people pulling the chariot, where the Hindu ancient deity, Lord Jagannath, form of Krishna, are placed along with deities Balabhadra (brother of Sri Jagannath), and Subhadra (sister of Sri Jagannath).
The festival is known as Ratha Yatra, meaning, the journey (yatra) of the chariots (ratha). The Rathas are huge wheeled beautiful wooden chariots, which are newly built every year. Truly, these chariots are an architectural marvel. Surprisingly, the craftsmen don’t follow any written instructions; the knowledge is actually handed from generation to generation.
In the Ratha Yatra, the three deities are taken from the Jagannath Temple in the chariots to the Gundicha Temple (to their aunt’s house precisely), where they stay for nine days. Then again, after nine days, the deities ride their chariots back home to the temple, which is known as Bahuda Yatra.
Rath Yatra is a 5000 years old tradition that has now become world famous since the explosive growth of Hare Krishna Movement since 1965. Gradually increasing, Rath Yatra is celebrated in more than 108 cities around the world. The festival celebrated at Puri, is the world’s largest and most visited Rath Yatra attracting thousands of devotees from around the world every year.
Did you know the English Word – “Juggernaut”? It means “destructive force, mercilessly destructive and unstoppable”. Well, history says that, the word was originated when the British observed Rath Yatra during their regiment in the 19th century, and gave shocking descriptions about the accidental deaths of the devotees who were occasionally crushed under the wheels of the chariots!!