Needless to say, the Rath Yatra Festival in honor of Puri’s Lord Jagannath is one of India’s biggest festivals. It is a great festival, an extravaganza of culture. Named after the Chariots Festival, it attracts crowds of enthusiastic devotees. Many legends of the Puri Jagannath Temple and the Rath Yatra Festival capture the imagination. The RTD Journal collects the most interesting facts of the Puri Rath Yatra Festival in Odisha.
1 Jagannath Temple of Odisha is one of the few Hindu temples in India where only Hindus are allowed to enter and pray. People of other denominations are unable to see the Lord as they enter the door no matter how dedicated they are, except for certain special days. However, the door to the Puri Jagannath temple is open to the public, regardless of race or religion, during the Rath Yatra Festival. People from various Indian communities can serve the Lord and be blessed.
2 Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra – the three gods of the Jagannath Temple – traveled in three different chariots. That is why the Ratha Yatra is also called the Festival of Chariots. Their chariots are named Nandighosha, Taladhwaja and Devadalana respectively. Lord Jagannath’s Chariot Nandighosha rides up to 18 wheels, 16 wheels for Lord Balaram’s Chariot Taladhwaja, and Subhadra’s Chariot Padmadhwaja with 14 wheels.
3 One of the most interesting facts about Rath Yatra is that the chariots of the gods are newly built every year. New materials are used, including wood for construction. However, the model, design, design and size of the carts remain elusive. Four wooden horses are attached to the front of each carriage.
4 The chariot of King Jagannath and two other gods resembles a Hindu temple. The carts are pulled by ropes by hundreds of devotees and visitors, creating a spectacular display of dedication and enthusiasm. Chariot canopies are made of about 1,200 feet of cloth. A group of 15 tailors made lumps.
5 According to those who had attended the Rath Yatra Festival of Odisha and pulled carts, Lord Jagannath seemed reluctant to move at the start of the festival, no matter how many people pushed back and pulled forward. Lord Jagannath’s chariot seems to be standing still despite heavy pushing and pulling. The Lord agrees to continue and His chariot begins to move only after a few hours of earth effort. Sounds like a no-brainer. If viewers believe, it is surprisingly true.
6 The Indian monarchy is a thing of the past. But there is a belief that the Majesty of Puri is present, and that King Jagannath leaves the temple on a pilgrimage after the road was cleared by the mythical king of Puri with a gold broom.
7 King Jagannath and his siblings stand on the way back to their abode after staying at the Gundicha temple for nine days. Poda Pitha, a popular dessert in Odisha, is a favorite of Kings. They find it unstoppable to eat their favorite meal during the return trip.
8 Do you know why the main door of the Puri Jagannath temple is kept closed for one week before the festival? The god who presided over Lord Jagannath is believed to have a high fever, so he is resting at this time. That is why the Sanctum sanctorum has not been open to the public for such a short time. When the holiday season was over, the Lord took a break to visit his aunt’s house for a change.
9 Ratha Yatra is also celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm at the Hindu Temple of Central Indiana (HTCI), organised by The Jagannath Association of Indiana (JAI), USA. This will be the 7th consecutive year of celebrating Ratha Yatra by the Odia families living in Indiana under the JAI banner. The real excitement of the devotees is seen with chants of “Jai Jagannath!” and reverberations of the ghantas (Gongs).
10 In 2007, the Rath Yatra festival was observed in a different way in Orissa’s Bargarh region. It was an unusual festival that had nothing to do with human festivals. Vegetable plants and plants were put in place for the pictures on the distribution carts to raise awareness of the need to conserve the environment and forests. It was the first Green Rath Yatra in India followed by the planting of seedlings.