Every year lakhs of pilgrims thronged Puri to have the glimpse of Lord Jagannath riding on his chariot with elder brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra. The similar enthusiasm for Ratha Yatra could be witnessed today with the arrival of over 10 lakh devotees to the temple town of Puri in Orrisa. The word Juggernaut is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as : a massive inexorable force, campaign, movement, or object that crushes whatever is in its path. Some say that it is nothing but the anglicised version of the word Jagannath (Lord of the World), by the British, who could not roll the word in their native tongue.
The Ratha Yatra festival marks the annual procession of three deities from the Jagannath temple in three colorful wooden chariots by the devotees to the Gundicha temple. The pulling of the Ratha cart by devotees epitomizes the endeavors of the local residents of Vrindavan to bring Krishna, Balram and Subhadra back to their home town from Kurukshetra. The Rath Yatra of Puri Jagannath is held in the month of Aashad of the Hindu lunar calender which coincides with the months of June-July. This year the Rath Yatra of Puri Jagannath was held today, on 21 June 2012.
I was there this year to revel in the crowds, and the absolute orderly chaos that ensued, I was able to click a few snaps that I will cherish for some time in to the future.
Here I share them with you all. Do leave your comments in the comments section below as they will help to make this event even more memorable for me 🙂
Rath Yatra or Rath Jatra is the name of the massive Chariot Festival of Lord Jagannath Ji celebrated with much passion and religious fervor in the holy land of Puri. Annually celebrated to honor Lord Jagannath Ji — the presiding deity of the town, this great and notable Chariot Festival lasts for around eight to ten days.
The festival serves a good reason for this pious land to be flocked by an endless number of pilgrims every year who head towards Puri with a staunch belief that a single glimpse of the Lord during this great festival is an assured means of salvation.
The festival observes a huge procession of decorated idols of Lord Jagannath, his sister Subhadra and brother Balbhadra or Balrama. All the deities are seated on separate chariots with the Lord adorning the most massive one.
One of the unique features of this chariot bearing the Lord, other than its grand size of 14 into 10 meters, is that it is pulled by devotees rather than the horses. The ropes of this chariot are considered to be the threads of salvation. Though celebrated in June-July, the construction of these chariots for the Rath Yatra starts as early as April.
The initiation day of the Yatra is observed as a public holiday in Orissa. So, children use this much awaited holiday to imitate the real Jatra at Puri. They flock the streets carrying diminutive versions of the chariots with small idols mounted on them.
People decorate their houses and shops with flowers, lights and rangolis for the festival. Traditional desserts and sweets are especially prepared for the occasion. It is also customary to refrain from non- vegetarian food during these days.
Falling in the Monsson season, the festivals also offers another reason for merry making to the people who take part in the celebrations as a symbol of thanking the God for showering a bountiful harvest upon them. about an hour ago ·
There are many other legends associated with the Lord and his chariot. But what is interesting is the origin of the cult of Jagannath and his worship.
This was a really wonderful experiece for me and given a chance, would like to come back again!!