Rath Yatra Importance, Rituals, and Story
Rath Yatra is considered a popular festival of the Hindu people. Rathyatra of Lord Jagannath is famous in the world. It is said that this chariot journey started according to the wish of Gundicha Devi, the wife of King Indradyumna. Hence it is also called Gundicha Yatra. Lord Balram, Lord Krishna, and Goddess Subhadra travel in front of the people in a chariot. Lord Jagannath is the revered deity of the entire human race.
Ritual of Rath Yatra
Jagannath Dham is known as Shri Kshetra Puri. Shri Jagannath Puri is considered to be one of the four major pilgrimage sites of India. Rathyatra of Lord Jagannath starts from this holy shrine Puri. Rath Yatra is celebrated according to religious rituals in India as well as abroad. Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra is the main source of all Rath Yatras. Because in other places, rules are followed to celebrate Rath Yatra. King Indradyumna is also said to have installed the idols of Lord Jagannath, Balarama, and Goddess Subhadra in the temple of Jagannath Puri.
When is Rath Yatra Celebrated?
Rath Yatra starts from Jagannathpuri on the Ashadhi Beej of Shukla Paksha. It is said that Jagannath stays among the people from the second to the tenth day of Ashadha Shukla. Rath Yatra is a festival celebrated for years. Millions of devotees come every year to join the Rath Yatra.
Lord Jagannath is considered to be a form of the double idol of Lord Krishna and Radha. Preparations for the Rath Yatra start from Vasant Panchami every year. The chariot for the chariot journey of Lord Jagannath is made of selected neem wood. Good and auspicious trees are identified for the wood of the chariot, and no metal of any kind is used in the construction of the chariot.
Why is Rath Yatra Celebrated?
The festival of Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath is celebrated every year. There are some myths behind celebrating this festival. One of which is the famous belief that Lord Jagannath's sister Subhadra expressed her desire to have darshan of Lord Jagannath in Dwarka, as a result of which Lord Subhadra was forced to travel by chariot.
Three chariots are prepared for the Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath. The chariot of Shri Krishna's elder brother Balarama is at the forefront of the yatra, it is called Taladhwaja, and the second is for Shri Krishna, who is known as Nandighosh or Garundhavaja and the third is for Shri Krishna's sister Subhadra, It is called Darpadalana or Padmaratha.
How Rath Yatra is Celebrated?
From the morning on the day of Rath Yatra, the servants get ready to perform their duties. On that day, after the completion of Mangal Aarti, Surya Puja, and programs in the temple on time, the installation and invocation of the chariot end. After that, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balbhadra, and Goddess Subhadra traditionally travel in chariots from the Ratna throne. This pilgrimage is called 'Pahandi Bij'. The view of the hill time is very impressive. First Lord Sudarshan rides on the chariot of Goddess Subhadra and then Balbhadra and Jagannath are seated on their chariots. Gajapati Maharaj, the first and foremost servant of Shri Jagannath, completes his service in three chariots. After this, the rath yatra is started by the devotees.
The strong ropes attached to the chariot are pulled by the devotees present. The chariot is brought to the Gundicha temple. First the chariot of Lord Balbhadra, then the chariot of Goddess Subhadra, and finally the chariot of Lord Jagannath are drawn. On reaching the Gundicha temple, all the deities are taken inside the temple. Like Shri Mandir, Gundicha Mandir also has various policies of God. Lord Balbhadra, Goddess Subhadra, and Lord Jagannath spend seven days in Gundicha temple. On the tenth day again all the lords get on the chariot. And all the devotees pull the chariot and take it to the temple. The return of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balbhadra, and Goddess Subhadra to this temple is called Bahuda Yatra. On the day of Ekadashi, Lord Balbhadra, Goddess Subhadra, and Lord Jagannath and all the deities are decorated with gold on the chariot. After this, all the deities are taken to the temple and the chariot journey is completed.
Importance of Rath Yatra
The present temple of Puri is more than 800 years old and is considered one of the four holy temples. It is said that the devotees who get the fortune of pulling the chariot of Rath Yatra are considered very lucky. According to the Puranas, the one who pulls the chariot attains salvation.
It is believed that on this day God himself comes among the people and takes part in their happiness and sorrow. It is also believed that the devotees who walk in the dust, mud, etc. of the road while paying obeisance to the Lord in the Rath Yatra, attain the full abode of Lord Vishnu. The most important thing is that no one worships in any temple or house on the day of Rath Yatra and this festival is celebrated collectively and there is no discrimination in it.
In fact, Rath Yatra is a community ritual festival. On this occasion, no worship is done in the houses and no fasting is observed. One important thing is that there is no caste discrimination during Rath Yatra. Online astrology consultation can help you to know more about the rituals of Rath Yatra and you can know more about the importance of Rath Yatra.