July 7, 2024 12:00 am

The SRI GUNDICHA YATRA, also known as the RATH YATRA, is an iconic and grand celebration held annually at the Shri Jagannath Mandir in Delhi. This festival, deeply rooted in the rich cultural and spiritual traditions of Odisha, commemorates the annual journey of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Devi Subhadra from their main temple to the Gundicha Temple.

The celebration begins with a spectacular procession, where the deities are placed on elaborately decorated chariots, or ‘raths’. These chariots are immense and ornately carved, showcasing intricate artistry and craftsmanship. Devotees from various parts of Delhi and neighboring regions gather in large numbers to pull the chariots, chanting “Jai Jagannath” and singing devotional songs. The act of pulling the chariots is considered a highly auspicious deed, believed to bring good fortune and blessings.

The journey to the Gundicha Temple, which symbolizes the home of Lord Jagannath’s aunt, is filled with vibrant cultural displays. Traditional dances, folk music, and devotional dramas are performed along the route, creating an atmosphere of divine joy and festivity. The streets come alive with the sounds of conch shells, drums, and the enthusiastic cheers of the devotees.

Upon reaching the Gundicha Temple, the deities are ceremoniously installed for a period of seven days. During this time, the temple becomes a hub of religious activities and community gatherings. Devotees throng the temple to offer prayers, seek blessings, and partake in the various rituals and ceremonies conducted by the priests. The temple premises are adorned with beautiful decorations, and the air is filled with the aroma of incense and flowers.

On the ninth day, the Bahuda Yatra or the return journey commences, where the deities are brought back to the main temple in a similar grand procession. This marks the conclusion of the RATH YATRA festival, leaving the devotees with a sense of spiritual fulfillment and joyous memories.

The SRI GUNDICHA YATRA/RATH YATRA at the Shri Jagannath Mandir in Delhi is not just a religious event but a celebration of culture, faith, and community spirit. It brings together people from all walks of life, fostering a sense of unity and devotion, and preserving the timeless traditions of the Jagannath cult.

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