Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra: Date, History, Significance, And More
Undoubtedly one of the greatest and most well-known Hindu festivities is the Jagannath Rath Yatra. This year, beginning on July 1 and concluding on July 9 with Bhauda Yatra, the annual event will last nine days. The Rath Yatra festival in Puri, Odisha, celebrates the journey made by the gods Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and goddess Subhadra in their three chariots to the Gundicha temple, where they were born.
Jagannath Rath Yatra: Date and Timings:
According to the Hindu calendar, the Jagannath Rath Yatra 2022 will be observed on Friday, July 1. (Dwitiya Tithi). This year, Dwitiya Tithi will begin at 10:49 am on June 30 and remain till 1:09 pm on July 1, 2022.
The entire schedule for the 2022 Jagannath Rath Yatra is as follows:
- The Jagannath Rath Yatra will begin on July 1, 2022 (a Friday), and the gods will begin their trip to the Gundicha temple.
- Tuesday, July 5, 2022: Hera Panchami (First five days during which deities reside in the Gundicha temple).
- Sandhya Darshan, Navami Darshan, or Adap Mandap Darshan on July 8, 2022. a blessed occasion when devotees can visit and worship to all the gods.
- Saturday, July 9, 2022: Bahuda Yatra (The period during which the deities return to their home).
- Sunday, July 10, 2022: Sunabesa (The period during which all the three deities reside back in the Jagannath temple).
- Monday, July 11, 2022: Aadhar Pana (A ritual during which a special drink is offered to the holy chariots).
- Tuesday, July 12, 2022: Niladri BJ, a unique rite performed at the conclusion of the Jagannath Yatra.
History and Significance:
The history of the Rath Yatra is surrounded by several myths. According to a tradition, Lord Jagannath makes a yearly pilgrimage to the Gundicha temple with his siblings Subhadra and Balabhadra as per a vow made to queen Gundicha, the wife of King Indradyumna, who was responsible for the construction of the Puri Jagannath shrine.
According to legend, Lord Vishwkarma carved the current sculptures of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and goddess Subhadra from a wood log and placed them in the temple, also known as Gundicha temple. It took several months, and while Lord Vishwakarma was working on the god sculptures, Queen Gundicha unlocked the temple entrance and Lord Vishwakarma left, leaving the statues unfinished.
Since then, according to legend, Lord Jagannath and his siblings only leave the temple once a year to go to their birthplaces, as promised to queen Gundicha. The present-day Gundicha shrine bears the monarch’s name. The distance between the main temple and the Gundicha temple is around 3 kilometres.
After spending eight days in the Gundicha temple, the deities embark on their Bahuda Yatra, or return journey, on the ninth day. The day the three presiding deities of the Puri Shri Mandir arrive to the temple following the Bahuda Yatra is referred to as NiladriBije. NiladriBije marks the conclusion of the Rath Yatra celebration. NiladriBije will take place this year on July 12.
The majestic chariots are pulled by thousands of worshippers who assemble at Puri. Only once a year, according to popular belief, does Lord Jagannath, the Supreme Being who rules over the entire universe, emerge from the temple to see his followers who are unable to enter. The Rath Yatra has great significance for those looking for “moksha.” It’s said that anyone who pulls, touches, or simply catches a glimpse of the idols atop the chariots pulled by the gods will be saved.
The Gundicha Temple is prepared for Lord Jagannatha’s comfortable stay by his followers before the Rath Yatra. For Lord Jagannatha, his brother Balabhadra, and sister Subhadra, three distinct chariots are prepared on the day of the yatra. In order to get there, a large crowd pulls the chariots of all three.
The chariots of Lord Balabhadra, Lord Jagannath, and goddess Subhadra are each given the names Taladhwaja, Nandighosha, and Darpadalan, respectively. The servitors in a customary procession known as PahandiBije carry the deities to the chariots on the Rath Yatra day.
The chariots are then cleaned thoroughly by the king of Puri, also known as Gajapati and Lord Jagannath’s first servant. During this event, the ritual of sweeping the chariots also takes place which is known as ChheraPahara. Following this ceremony, the worshippers draw the chariots towards the direction of the Gundicha shrine.
Finally, the Pahandi rituals for the Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath started in Odisha’s Puri. This time devotees are allowed to participate in the Rath Yatra after a gap of two years following the Covid pandemic. Expecting the huge crowd in Puri, Odisha Police have made foolproof security arrangements.
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