All About Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra | Great Story Behind Jagannath Rath Yatra | History of Jagannath Temple | Jagannath Puri Rath

All About Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra

Jagannath ji’s temple located in Puri of Odisha is famous all over the world. This temple is one of the Hindus’ four pilgrimage sites. It is said that before death every Hindu should visit all four dhams, it leads to salvation. Jagannath Puri has a temple of Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, which is huge and many years old. Lakhs of devotees visit this temple every year for darshan. The Rath Yatra of Jagannath Puri is one of the prominent attractions of this location. This Rath Yatra is no less than a festival, apart from Puri, it is also taken out in many parts of the country and abroad.

Puri region of Orissa state of India, which is also known as Purushottam Puri, Shankh Kshetra, Sri Kshetra, is the main Leela-Bhoomi of Lord Shri Jagannath ji. Shee Jagannath ji is truly considered as the key deity of Utkal-Pradesh.

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Importance of Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra

The ten-day Rath Yatra festival is one of the major festivals of India. It has had a very important place in the history of India. According to the Puranas and religious texts, the Rath Yatra of Jagannath, an incarnation of Lord Krishna, is equivalent to a hundred yagyas. This is the reason that during this Rath Yatra, a large number of devotees attend various Rath Yatras across the country and its most important place, Puri, is thronged by devotees on this day.

On this day, the devotees try to pull the rope of Lord Jagannath’s chariot while enduring all the hardships and pray to the God to remove their sorrows and sufferings. In fact, this festival serves to make us understand the importance of devotion and faith.

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When is the Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra taken out?

Jagannath ji’s Rath Yatra is taken out every year on the second day of the bright fortnight of Ashadh month (July month). This year it will be drawn on 20 June 2023, a Sunday. The festival of Rath Yatra is of 10 days, which ends on the eleventh day of Shukla Paksha. During this, lakhs of people reach Puri, and become a part of this grand event. On this day, Lord Krishna, his brother Balram and sister Subhadra are taken in chariots to the Gundicha temple. All the three chariots are grandly decorated, the preparation of which starts months in advance.

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All About Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra
All About Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra | Story Behind Jagannath Rath Yatra | Jagannath Temple

Story of Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra

There are several tales associated with this Rath Yatra, which is why this celebration is held. Let me tell you some stories:

  • Some say that Krishna’s sister Subhadra visits her maternal house and expresses her wish to visit the city with her brothers, after which Krishna Balarama rides to the city with Subhadra in a chariot, and the festival of travel has began since then.
  • Aside from that, it is stated that the Goddess in the Gundicha temple is Krishna’s maternal aunt, and she invites all three to her house. Shri Krishna and Balaram Subhadra spend ten days at Shri Krishna’s maternal aunt’s residence.
  • When Sri Krishna’s maternal uncle Kansa summons him to Mathura, Kansa sent a chariot with a charioteer to Gokul. Krishna rides a chariot with his brothers to Mathura, where the Rath Yatra celebration begins.
  • Some say that on this day, after slaying Kansa, Shri Krishna and Balram embark on a chariot tour in Mathura with Balram to offer his subjects darshan.
  • Krishna’s queens request that mother Rohini tell her Rasleela. Mata Rohini believes Subhadra should not be informed about Krishna’s Raasleela with the gopis, so she sends her to the Rath Yatra with Krishna and Balarama. Only then does Naradji emerge, and he is overjoyed to see all three together, and he prays that such darshan of these three continue every year. This petition is heard, and everyone sees these three through Rath Yatra.

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History of the Jagannath Temple

It is reported that after Shri Krishna’s death, when his body is carried to Dwarka, Balram is terribly upset by his brother’s death. Subhadra jumps after them as they jump into the water with Krishna’s body. At the same time, King Indradvimuna of Puri in eastern India dreams that the Lord’s corpse is floating in the sea, and he decides to build a great statue of Krishna and a temple here. Angels advise him in his visions that he should make wooden sculptures of Balram and Subhadra beside Krishna. And Shri Krishna’s bones should be stored behind his statue by piercing them.

The king’s desire came realised when he acquired Krishna’s properties. But now he was curious about who would construct this monument. Lord Vishwakarma, the artisan, is said to emerge in the shape of a carpenter and begin work on the idol. Before beginning the task, he informs everyone that he should not be interrupted while working, or he would abandon it in the midst. After a few months, the idol could not be completed; as a result, King Indradvimuna unlocks the door to the carpenter’s room, and Lord Vishwakarma vanishes. The idol is not finished at the time, but when the monarch installs it, he first lays Lord Krishna’s bones behind the statue before enshrining it in the temple.

Every year, a magnificent parade with the idols of Lord Krishna, Balarama, and Subhadra on three massive chariots is held. The Lord Krishna, Balarama, and Subhadra idols are replaced every 12 years, and the new idol that stays is likewise incomplete. This temple in Jagannath Puri is the only one where three brothers and sisters’ idols are worshipped at the same time.

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Story Behind Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra
Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra | History Of Jagannath Temple | Complete Details Of Jagannath Puri Rath

Complete details of Jagannath Puri Rath

S.No.Whose Chariot Is ItName Of The ChariotWheels In The ChariotHeight Of The ChariotNo. Of Wood
1.Jagannath / Shri KrishnaNandighosh / Garudadhvaj / Kapildhvaj1613.5 Meter832
2.BalramTaldhwaj / Langladhwaj1413.2  Meter763
3.SubhadraDevdalan / Padmadhwaj1212.9  Meter593

On Akshaya Tritiya, the building of Jagannath Puri’s chariot begins. Read on to learn about the significance and history of Akshaya Tritiya. Every year, it is made in a different fashion, by numerous individuals, and then it is adorned.

  • Jagannath’s Chariot (Shri Krishna) – It is 45 feet tall, with 16 wheels with a diameter of 7 feet, and is covered in red and yellow fabric. This chariot is guarded by Garuda. Daruka is the driver of this chariot. Trailokyamohini is the name of the chariot’s banner. It has four horses in it. Varsha, Gobardhan, Krishna, Narasingha, Ram, Narayan, Trivikram, Hanuman, and Rudra ride on this chariot. The rope used to raise it is called Shankhchuda Nagni.
  • Balarama’s Chariot – It stands 43 feet tall and is equipped with 14 wheels. It is made of red, blue, and green cloth. Vasudev keeps an eye on it. The charioteer, Matali, drives it. It is home to Ganesh, Kartik, Pralambari, Mrityunjay, Hatayudhya, Mukteshwar, Sarvamangala, Natamwara, and Sheshdev. The flag that is flown in it is called Unani. The rope used to pull it is called Basuki Naga.
  • Subhadra’s Chariot – It has 12 wheels and is 42 feet tall. It is adorned with red and black fabric. Arjun is the charioteer, and Jayadurga guards it. It carries the Nandbik flag. It is inhabited by Chandi, Chamunda, Ugratara, Vandurga, Shulidurga, Varahi, Shyamkali, Mangala, and Vimla. Swarnchuda Nagni is the name of the rope used to lift it.

Thousands of people draw these chariots together, and everyone wants to pull this chariot only once, since it makes all their desires come true. This is when Jagannath ji can be seen clearly.

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Rath Yatra Festival

The Rath Yatra arrives at the Gundicha temple, and the three idols are erected the following day. It was Ekadashi before then, and it still is. Various activities are place around this time, including a fair in Puri. Mahaprasad is served. When they are returned on Ekadashi, the same crowd gathers on that day, which is known as Bahuda. The deity of Jagannath is put in the temple’s womb. Only once a year is a statue removed from its location.

Rath Yatras are held throughout the country and overseas. The deity of Krishna is carried out on city tours in several temples around India. In foreign nations, the ISKCON temple organizes Rath Yatra. It is held in over 100 international cities, the most important of which are Dublin, London, Melbourne, Paris, New York, Singapore, Toronto, Malaysia, and California. Aside from that, Bangladesh has a massive Rath Yatra, which is celebrated as a festival.

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