8 Interesting facts about Jagannath Rath Yatra

Chhindwara: Devotees participate in the annual Jagannath Rath Yatra in Madhya Pradesh's Chhindwara on July 4, 2019.IANS

For so long, Jagannath Rath Yatra or the most famous Jagannath car festival of Puri in Orissa has been one of the biggest festivals in India. This is a spectacular and highly significant event carrying a lot of cultural, religious and social significance. Multitudes of people throng at the city of Puri to view the grandest chariot procession in the country. The several legends associated with the Rath Yatra of Puri capture the imaginations of the humans around the globe. Here are some highly interesting facts about the Jagannath Rath Yatra.

Jagannath Rath Yatra interesting facts

  • As practiced in a few other orthodox Hindu temples, none other than Hindus will be allowed to enter the gates of the Jagannath temple in Puri to view the deities and offer worship. However, the entry is open to anyone irrespective of caste and religion during the Jagannath Rath Yatra. During this festival time, all people can worship the Lord and receive his blessings.
  • The Rath yatra sees the procession of three independent chariots for the three deities of Jagannath, Balarama and Shubadra. Hence this event is also called the festival of chariots. The names of these three chariots are Nandighosha, Taladhwaja and Devadalana.
  • Nandigosha is the chariot of Jagannath that is set on 18 wheels. Taladwaja, the chariot of Balarama runs on 16 wheels and 14 wheels roll the chariot Padmadhwaja in which Shubadra parades.
  • The most astonishing facts about the Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra is that all the three chariots are constructed anew year after year prior to the festival. The construction makes use of newer materials as the years go by. However, the structure, model, design and measurements of the chariot remain the same. In front of each chariot, four wooden horses are fixed.
  • The chariot tops replicate the structure of the temple towers built in the North Indian style. Hundreds of pilgrims and devotees pull the massive sized chariots with sturdy ropes. This creates an awe inspiring sight for the onlookers. For making the canopies of the chariots, about 1200 meters of cloth is used. A team of 15 skilled tailors make the canopies.
  • As per the traditional belief, the king of Puri sweeps the floor with a broom stick before the chariots move forward thus providing a royal procession to the Lord with his accomplices.
  • When the festival begins, Lord Jagannath seems to refuse moving out. Despite the efforts of the crowds, the chariot cannot be moved even an inch forward. After a few hours of mammoth efforts, finally the chariot moves forward to trigger the procession’s onward march.
  • There is an interesting story behind the chariot festival. It is said Lord Jagannath catches high fever year on year prior to the Rath yatra. Hence he is given rest for a period of one week before the chariot festival. The temple doors remain shut for the public and none is allowed to disturb the resting Lord during this period. The chariot procession comes as a change for the Lord to visit his maternal aunt’s house after he recovers from his fever.
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