10 Fascinating Facts About Rath Yatra

1. Ancient Origins

Rath Yatra has been celebrated for centuries, with its origins tracing back to ancient times. It is one of the oldest Hindu festivals, mentioned in various Puranas and scriptures.

2. Unique Chariots

Every year, three new chariots are constructed for Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Goddess Subhadra. These chariots are made from specific types of wood, primarily from the Phassi and Dhausa trees, and are built without using any iron nails.

3. The Chariot Specifications

  • Nandighosa: Lord Jagannath’s chariot, 45 feet high with 16 wheels, is decorated in red and yellow.
  • Taladhwaja: Lord Balabhadra’s chariot, 44 feet high with 14 wheels, is adorned in blue and red.
  • Darpadalana: Goddess Subhadra’s chariot, 43 feet high with 12 wheels, features black and red decorations.

4. Chhera Pahanra Ritual

The King of Puri performs the Chhera Pahanra ritual, where he sweeps the chariots with a golden broom. This act signifies humility and the belief that everyone is equal before the divine.

5. Global Celebrations

While Puri hosts the most famous Rath Yatra, similar festivals are celebrated worldwide. Major cities like London, New York, and San Francisco hold Rath Yatra processions, organized by ISKCON and local Hindu communities.

6. The Pahandi Bije Procession

The deities are ceremonially brought out of the Jagannath Temple in a grand procession called Pahandi Bije. Devotees chant, sing, and dance as the idols are carried to their chariots.

7. Gundicha Temple Stay

The deities stay at the Gundicha Temple for nine days before making their return journey, known as Bahuda Yatra. This temple is considered to be the home of Lord Jagannath’s aunt.

8. Significance of Pulling the Chariots

Devotees consider it a great honor and act of devotion to pull the chariots using thick ropes. This act symbolizes their desire to be close to the deities and earn their blessings.

9. Massive Crowds

Rath Yatra in Puri attracts millions of devotees and tourists from around the world. The event is one of the largest religious gatherings globally, showcasing the immense faith and devotion of the participants.

10. Spiritual Cleansing

It is believed that merely witnessing the Rath Yatra or touching the ropes of the chariots can cleanse one’s sins and bring good fortune. This belief draws countless devotees to participate in the festival each year.

Conclusion

Rath Yatra is a festival rich in history, tradition, and spirituality. Its grand celebrations, elaborate rituals, and the deep devotion of the participants make it one of the most captivating and revered festivals in Hindu culture.

Know more about Rath Yatra Mahotsav 2024 at Shri Jagannath Mandir, Thyagraj Nagar, Delhi

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