The most awaited festival of Rath Yatra or Car Festival Puri commences on the 14 th July 2018 Saturday . Rathyatra Also known as Chariot Festival or Car festival, this is one of the most awaited Hindu festivals of the state as well as the country. The celebration of this day starts much earlier that comprises the construction and decoration of the Raths or Chariot by numerous devotees & volunteers. The three chariots that are the highlights of the entire Yatra are pulled by strings. The chariot of Lord Jagannath which is 45.6 feet high, high comprises 18 wheels and is referred as Nandighosa. Balabhadra’s chariot is made 45 feet high with 16 wheels is called Taladhvaja. The chariot of Subhadra known as Devadalana has 14 wheels and is 44.6 feet high. All these chariots are decorated with various designs and colors by the artists of Puri that showcases their enthusiasm for the Yatra.
Date of Rath Yatra
Glimpses of Puri Rathayatra -2016:Photo Biswaranjan Mishra
Puri Ratha Yatra 2018
Ratha Yatra is a huge Hindu festival and it is organized each year at famous Jagannatha temple in Puri. Ratha Yatra day is decided based on Hindu Lunar calendar and it is fixed on Dwitiya Tithi during Shukla Paksha of Ashada month. Currently it falls in month of June or July in Gregorian calendar.Lord Jagannatha is worshipped primarily in city of Puri at famous Jagannatha temple. Lord Jagannatha is considered a form of Lord Vishnu and also revered by the followers of Vaishnavism. Jagannatha literally means Lord of the Universe. Jagannatha temple is one of the four Hindu pilgrimage centers known as Char Dham pilgrimages that a Hindu is expected to make in one’s lifetime. Lord Jagannatha is worshipped along with his brother Balabhadra and his sister Devi Subhadra. Ratha Yatra commemorates Lord Jagannatha’s annual visit to Gundicha (गुंडीचा) Mata temple. It is said that to honor the devotion of Queen Gundicha, wife of the legendary King Indradyumna (इन्द्रद्युमना) who built the Puri Jagannatha temple, the Lord Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Subhadra leave their regular abode in the main temple and spend a few days in this temple built by Gundicha in their honor. One day before of Ratha Yatra, Gundicha Temple is cleaned by devotees of Lord Jagannatha. The ritual of cleaning Gundicha temple is known as Gundicha Marjana (मार्जन) and is held one day before Ratha Yatra.The fourth day after Ratha Yatra is celebrated as Hera Panchami (हेरा पञ्चमी) when Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Jagannatha, visits Gundicha temple in search of Lord Jagannatha. Hera Panchami should not be confused with Panchami Tithi as Hera Panchami is celebrated on the fourth day after Ratha Yatra and usually observed on Shashthi Tithi. After resting eight days in Gundicha temple Lord Jagannatha returns to his main abode. This day is known as Bahuda (बहुदा) Yatra or Return Yatra and is observed on the eighth day after Ratha Yatra on Dashami Tithi (if we don’t have any skipped or leaped Tithi during Lords’ stay in Gundicha temple). During Bahuda Yatra Lord makes a short stoppage at Mausi Maa temple which is dedicated to Goddess Ardhashini.
It should be noted that Lord Jagannatha returns to his main abode just before Devshayani Ekadashi when Lord Jagannatha goes to sleep for four months. Ratha Yatra is also known as Puri Car Festival among foreign visitors.It should be noted that rituals of Ratha Yatra start much ahead of Ratha Yatra day. Approximately 18 days before of Ratha Yatra Lord Jagannatha, his brother Balabhadra and his sister Devi Subhadra are given famous ceremonial bath which is known as Snana Yatra. Snana Yatra day is observed on Purnima Tithi in Jyeshtha month which is popularly known as Jyestha Purnima.
How to Reach
The nearest airport to Puri is Biju Patnaik Airport, Bhubaneswar, which is around 60 km from Puri. The city is easily accessible from the airport. You can easily rent a cab. This airport is well-connected with important cities of the India such as Delhi, Nagpur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam and Chennai.
Puri is the last stop on the East Coast Railway. It is connected through direct express and other super-fast trains with important Indian cities such as Okha, Delhi, Tirupati, Kolkata, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and so on.
Puri is easily connected with road through a good network of roads. From the bus stand near the Gundicha Temple, buses from Bhubaneswar and Cuttack are available after every 10-15 minutes. Mini buses for Konark are also available from here, after every 20-30 minutes. Direct buses for Kolkata and Visakhapatnam are also available. Renting a cab is another option.