July 6, 2016
|Last Year (2015)||18 July|
|Present Year (2016)||6 July|
|Next Year (2017)||June 25|
Rath Yatra also popular by the name of chariot festival or car festival which involves moving deities Jagannath, Subhadra, Balabhadra and Sudarshana on a chariot called a ratha or rotho. In the celebrations, annual procession of a deity’s idols is carried out. The ratha yatras include the Ratha Yatra of Mahesh, the Dhamrai Ratha Yatra and the Ratha Yatra of Puri. The festival is majorly celebrated in Puri, Odhisha. This festival is older than thousand years.
When It Is Celebrated?
Rath Yatra is carried out in the month of Asadha which is the rainy season of Odisha, usually falling in month of June or July. Triads are brought out onto the Bada Danda or Main Street of Puri and travel 3 km to the Shri Gundicha Temple, in big chariots or ratha. Huge number of devotees gathers for the darshan or holy view. The Rathas on which the idols of Gods are carried have huge wheeled wooden structure which is made new every year. Devotees pull the Rathas carrying the idols. The idols of all the three deities are also made up of wood which are replaced with new ones in every 12 years.
How It Is Celebrated?
Chhera pahara is the most important ritual associated with the festival during which the Gajapati King wears the outfit of a sweeper and sweeps all around the deities and chariots. Before the procession, Gajapati King cleans the road, with a gold-handled broom and sprinkles sandalwood water and powder. This ritual signifies that all are equal under the lordship of Jagannath whether he is powerful Gajapati King and the most humble devotee. Chera pahara celebrations are held for two days. On the first day of the Ratha Yatra, the deities are taken to garden house at Mausi Maa Temple and again on the last day of the festival, the deities are precisely brought back to the Shri Mandir. During the Ratha Yatra, three deities are taken from the Jagannath Temple in the Chariots to the Gundicha Temple, where they rest for nine days. Thereafter, the deities are again carried on chariots back to Shri Mandir in bahuda yatra. On the way back, the three chariots stop at the Mausi Maa Temple where they are offered Poda Pitha which is a baked cake. There is another ritual when the deities are taken from the Shri Mandir to the Chariots in Pahandi vijay.