Puri’s sacred seaside town is only a short, enchanting drive away from Odisha’s Bhubaneswar. The glorious Jagannath Temple in Puri is a major Hindus pilgrimage destination and is part of the pilgrimages to the “Char Dham.” You can see magnificent sunrises and sunsets from the popular Puri Beach over the Bay of Bengal.
Jagannath Rath Yatra is one of the most-awaited and much-celebrated festivals in Orissa as well as countrywide. The yatra is dedicated to Lord Jagannath i.e. Lord Krishna, Goddess Subhadra his sister, and Lord Balabhadra his elder brother.
History of Jagannath Temple and Rath Yatra
Puri Jagannath’s history dates back to many centuries. The copper plates of the Puri Jagannath Temple which were discovered belong to the Ganga Dynasty which was then under the rule of Anantavarman Chodaganga Dev of Kalinga. In 1174E the temple of Puri Jagannath was built in its present form by King Ananga Bhima Dev.
According to the legend once King Indradyumna of the Malwa had a dream that one can see Lord Vishnu in his true form in Utkala (Orissa ‘s ancient name).
To search for this form he appointed a person named Vidyapati. Vidyapati came to the tribal community and found out about the Nila Madhava worshipping and he married the tribe’s chief ‘s daughter. The tribals showed him the way to the Nila Madhava housing place.
Vidyapati informed the King of the place of worship but the Nila Madhava disappeared when the King went there by himself. Lord Vishnu, pitying, sent him a divine message that if he should go to the shores of Puri and build the image of Lord Jagannath from a wooden log that he will find floating on the sea.
Lord Vishnu appeared as a carpenter and asked to leave him in a room for 21 days without disturbance so that he could prepare the image. However, the space was opened early on the Queen ‘s request, and there were just the incomplete images of the three gods and the Sudarsana Chakra.
Jagannath Temple – Facts and Significance
Legend attached with Jagannath Temple and its Rath Yatra
Also known as Gundicha Jatra, Ghosa Jatra, Navadina Jatra, Dasavatara Jatra, and other names, the Ratha Yatra or Rath Jatra is one of the most significant festivals of Jagannath Puri Temple. It is believed that Gundicha is the queen of King Indradyumna the Jagannath temple maker. It is also claimed that the Lord was satisfied with the devotions of the queen and offered her a gift, agreeing to visit her palace once a year for a stay of a few days. Queen Gundicha ‘s Residence later turned into a temple. It is beautifully made on the architectural lines of the Kalinga style.
Yet another legend signifies that Gundicha is the aunt of Lord Jagannath, who likes to invite her nephews and pamper them with love and affection every year.
Rath Yatra ‘s significance is immense for a person who longs for spiritual merit and ultimate release. It is believed that anyone who pulls the rope connected to the deity’s chariots and helps others in doing so, or just touches the rope or chariots, gets the merit of multiple penances. All the paraphernalia that is associated with Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra becomes one with the deity itself.
Puja Rituals and Important Dates during Jagannath Temple Rath Yatra
Jagannath Rath Yatra is the most popular chariot festival among the Hindus across the world. It is famously known as ‘Jagannath Rath Yatra‘, which is followed by millions of pilgrims all over the world. It is celebrated on the ‘Dwitiya’ (2nd day) during the ‘Ashadha Shukla Paksha’ (the waxing phases of the moon in the Ashadha month of the Hindu calendar). Jagannath rath yatra 2020 starts on Tuesday, 23 June.
Jagannath Rath Yatra 2020 Dates
The Celebration of India’s Largest Chariot Festival – Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra. During the yearly Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra, devotees from all over the world throng to Puri with an earnest desire to help pull the chariots of the Lords. They take it as an auspicious gesture. The massive processions that surround the chariots perform devotional songs with drums, bell metal sounding plates, cymbals, etc.
The Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra is also broadcast live on many Indian and International television channels while Jagannath Ratha Jatra is telecast live on a number of websites.
Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra is comprised of three chariots-Balabhadra, Subhadra, and Jagannatha chariots. These chariots are constructed annually by architects using wood from specified trees. Traditionally the logs are set afloat in the Mahanadi River as rafts. This is gathered near to Puri and then transported by road. The three deities’ wooden chariots are very heavy since they are built of over 13,000 cubic ft timber. With sturdy ropes tied around, thousands of devotees pull the chariots.
The chariots are decorated on the Bada Danda, the Grand Avenue, according to the unique scheme prescribed and followed for centuries. Covered with colorful canopies constructed of red fabric strips and paired with those of purple, yellow and green colors, the immense chariots are lined around the broad avenue in front of the magnificent temple near its eastern entry, also known as the Sinhadwara or Lion’s Doors.