Rath Yatra is the Most awaited festival of India. This year, it would commence on 6th July and return of car festival would be 15th July. It is also known as Chariot festival or car festival. People start celebrations of this day much earlier in constructing and decorating the Raths or chariots. Three chariots are the main highlights of the entire Yatra and are pulled by strings. The chariot of Lord Jagannath is 45.6 feet high and has 16 wheels that are called taladhvaja. The chariot of Subhadra (Devaddalana) has 14 wheels and it is 44.6 feet high. Artists who show their enthusiasm for the Yatra decorate all the chariots with different designs and colors.
This festival is celebrated in the month of June or July when chariots of Lord Jagannath is accompanied by his elder brother Balabhadra and sister Devi Subhadra are brought to Main Street of Puri (Bada Danda). The Chariot is taken to Shri Gundicha temple to their aunt’s place where deities enjoy nine-day stay and are served with sweet pancakes. Deities are believed to enjoy their vacations and have fun for a while here. On returning to the temple, the deities are offered Poda Pitha when their chariots halt at Mausi Maa Temple. It is a baked cake that should be consumed by poor sections of the society only.
Chhera Pahara is the famous rituals associated with Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra. The Gajapati King can be seen sweeping all around the deities and chariots in this festival. They cleanse road with gold handled broom and sprinkle sandalwood water and powder. This custom shows that every devotee (king or commoner) is equal in the eyes of Lord Jagannath. The rituals are for two days, first on Rath Yatra when three deities go to their aunt’s place and last when they are brought back to the Puri Temple. The celebration of Rath Yatra is back to the period of Puranas. This festival is a very significant event in the entire state and is witnessed by tourists who pay their honor to deities and seek their blessings from all over the world.
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