When and Why is the Rath Yatra Celebrated? - DipFunZ

When and Why is the Rath Yatra Celebrated?

Why Rath Yatra is celebrated
Rath Yatra
Probably a lot of people know about the Rath Yatra, but there will be very few people who know why the Rath Yatra is celebrated. Rath Yatra is a very famous festival celebrated in India. But there is a lot of difference between the rest of the festivals and the Rath Yatra because Rath Yatra is not a festival celebrated by worshipping or fasting in homes or temples. This festival is gathered and celebrated. Rath Yatra is carried out in this festival. 

There is a grand temple of Lord Jagannath in the coastal city of Jagannathpuri in the Indian state of Odisha, this city is mainly known as Puri. Every year a huge Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath is taken out in Puri. The Jagannath temple of Puri has been considered one of the Char Dham of India.  
    So today I thought why all of you should be provided complete information about Rath Yatra, including Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra, why and how Rath Yatra is celebrated? Then start without delay.

    What is Rath Yatra?

    Rath Yatra or Chariot festival is a festival which is celebrated once every year mainly by the Hindu religious people. This festival is considered different from the rest of the Hindu festivals because the rest of the Hindu festivals are mainly celebrated by worshipping or fasting in their homes or temples. But this festival is different from them because everyone gathers and celebrates this festival. This festival is celebrated by taking out the Rath Yatra in Puri city. This festival is celebrated for 10 days.

    Puri city is located in the state of Odisha in India, which is also known by the names of conch region, Sri Kshetra, Purushottam Puri etc, and Lord Jagannatha temple is known as "Badadeula". The people of this city consider Lord Jagannath the main deity and Puri is considered to be the main Leela land of Lord Jagannath. The main festival here is also the night journey of Lord Jagannath. Rath Yatra festival is celebrated with great pomp and show. Millions of devotees come from abroad to avail the philosophy of Rath Yatra.

    When is the Rath Yatra celebrated?

    The rath yatra begins in Jagannathpuri on once during the month of Asadha (Rainy Season of Orissa, usually falling in June or July).  It is believed that Lord Jagannath resides among people. The festival of Rath Yatra is a festival celebrated continuously for hundreds of years. Every year lakhs of devotees arrive to join the Rath Yatra. The number of devotees participating in the Rath Yatra is increasing year after year.

    Lord Jagannath is considered as the form of a couple of idol of Lord Krishna and Radha. The preparation of Rath Yatra is started every year from Basant Panchami. For the chariot journey of Lord Jagannath, a chariot is prepared from select trees of neem trees. Good and auspicious trees are identified for the wood of the chariot, in which the nails etc. are not stopped and no metal is used in the construction of the chariot(Ratha).

    Why Rath Yatra is celebrated?

    The festival of Lord Jagannath's Rath Yatra is celebrated every year. There are some beliefs behind celebrating this festival. Out of which,  it is well known that every year Lord Jagannath wishes to visit his birthplace Mathura for a few days. To fulfil this desire of his, this Yatra is conducted each year from Jagannath temple to Gundicha temple ( Mausi Maa Temple ).

    Ratha in Ratha Yatra

    The elaborate chariots are the major attractions of Jagannath's Rath Yatra. The preparation of the chariots begins on the day of Akshaya Tritiya. There are 3 main chariots drawn by hands using long ropes, with a length of 50 meters. It is believed that pulling this rope is like connecting your good deeds and doing penance for your bad deeds.

    Lord Jagannath's chariot with a height of 45.6 feet is called Nandighosh and consists of 18 wheels. Lord Balarama's chariot has a height of 45 feet, which comes with 16 wheels and is called Taladhwaj. Similarly, Devdalana is the chariot of the goddess Subhadra, which has 14 wheels and comes with a height of 44.6 feet. Artists have beautifully decorated these chariots with the help of designs, motifs and paints.

    Story of Ratha Yatra

    An old story behind Rath Yatra is known that Lord Jagannath was born on the day of Jyestha Purnima. On that day Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Balarama and sister Subhadra are taken off the Ratnasinhasan and taken to the bathing pavilion near the temple of Lord Jagannath. Then he has a royal bath with 108 Kalas, which makes Lord Jagannath fall ill and he gets a fever. After this, Lord Jagannath is kept in a special place which is called Osar Ghar.

    After 15 days, Lord Jagannath comes out of his home healthy and gives darshan to the devotees. It is also called Navayuvan Eye Festival. After this, on the second day of Ashadh Shukla, Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Balaram and sister Subhadra ride in a chariot and go for a city tour.

    How is the Rath Yatra celebrated?

    Three chariots are prepared for the chariot journey of Lord Jagannath. When all the three chariots are ready, then 'Chhar Pahanra' ritual is performed. By worshipping these three chariots, the chariot and the way are cleaned with a golden broom. The rath yatra begins on the second date of Ashada Shukla Paksha. This yatra is carried out with drums and the devotees pull the chariot and earn a reward.

    The chariot of Lord Balarama is drawn at the start of the procession, followed by Goddess Subhadra and then Lord Jagannath. The distance between the two temples is just 3 km, but the entire excitement of the tourists and devotees is accompanied by the chanting of mantras and drums, it takes a few hours. For the next 9 days, devotees can seek the blessings of God and Goddess.

    During the return journey, the Bahuda yatra stops at the Mausi Maa temple.

    Importance of Rath Yatra

    The present temple at Puri is more than 800 years old and is considered to be one of the four holy shrines. It is said that the devotees who get the privilege of pulling the chariot of the Rath Yatra are considered very fortunate. According to the mythological belief, the person pulling the chariot gets salvation.

    Believes that on this day God himself visits the city and comes among the people and participates in their happiness and sorrow. It is also believed that the devotees who go to the Rath Yatra and see God and salute the way, throw dust in the mud, etc., they get the best abode of Shri Vishnu.

    The most important thing is that on the day of Rath Yatra, no one worships in the temple and house, collectively perform this festival and no discrimination is seen in it.