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Jagannatha Temple (Puri) Ratha Yatra

Every year, the gracious hindu festival, Ratha Yatra is organized at Jagannatha Temple (Puri). The day for the auspicious yatra, 10th July’13, is decided according to the Hindu Lunar calendar and is finalized on the Dwitiya Tithi during Shukla Paksha of Ashada month.

The Jagannatha Rath Yatra is also popular as Ghosa Jatra, Dasavatara Jatra, Navadina Jatra, or Gundicha Jatra. During this duration of yatra of one to two weeks, the main attractions are the holy yatras of the deities namely Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra.

Puri Jagannath Ratha Yatra
Three chariots of the deities with the Temple, Puri
According to the legend, the Rath Yatra marks the visit of Lord Jagannath to Gundicha Mata temple to respect the devotion of Queen Gundicha, who constructed the Jagannatha temple. The deities leave their respective abodes and reside in the Gundicha Mata temple. A day before the yatra, the worshipers of Lord Jagannatha, cleans the Gundicha Mata Temple, this ritual is popular as Gundicha Marjana.

During the 4th day of the yatra, Hera Panchami is celebrated. This marks the visit of Lord Jagannatha’s wife’s (Goddess Lakshmi) visit to the Gundicha Mata temple to search Lord Jagannatha. After the resting duration of 8 days, the deities return to their main abode from the Gundicha Mata temple. This returning of the deities is marked as Return Yatra or Bahuda Yatra. During the Return Yatra, a halt for a short duration is made at the Mausi Maa temple, devoted to Goddess Ardhashini. Lord Jagannatha goes to sleep for 4 months just before Devshayani Ekadashi, after returning to the main abode.

As this yatra is organized at a huge level, the preparations are already in full swing. The craftsmen, weavers and artisans are busy in making 3 new wooden chariots for the deities. The chariots are designed similarly to that of the respective temples of the God and Goddess. Reaching the height of 45 feet, the chariots are pulled by a rope and the pilgrims consider the pulling of the rope highly lucky for an individual. It is believed that the sight “darshan” of the Lord Jagannatha and touching the chariot brings prosperity in the lives of the worshippers.

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