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Thursday, 21 June 2012

Rath Yatra : Large Chariot Festival Of India

Chariot of Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra . This 3D Picture Created by Me (Manash Kundu)

Rath Yatra:
In June every year, it is believed that Lord Jagannath or Lord Krishna, with his elder brother Balabhadra or Balarama and sister Subhadra, goes on vacation, travelling on grand chariots, from his temple in Puri, to his garden palace in the countryside. This is called the Chariot Festival and is celebrated with fervour. 

Idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra. his 3D Picture Created by Me (Manash Kundu)

belief of the Hindus has given rise to one of the biggest religious festivals in India . Sometimes the crowd and pushing is so much that it becomes like a battlefield, which is what led to the english word, juggernaut, but on the positive side, one views tremendous devotion and unity here.

Many believe that the custom of placing idols on grand chariots and pulling them is of Buddhist origin. Fa Hien, the Chinese historian, who visited India in the 5th century AD, had written about the chariot of Buddha being pulled along public roads.

Idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra. his 3D Picture Created by Me (Manash Kundu)

The festival begins with the Ratha Prathistha or invoking ceremony in the morning, but the Ratha Tana or chariot pulling is the most exciting part of the festival, which begins in the late afternoon when the chariots of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhdra start rolling. Chariot Pulling is very auspicious for Hindu people. The Wheel of chariots signifies the speed which means Social progress or advancement.

Idols Picture of Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra from  Temple of Puri, Orissa.

Rath Yatra is a great festival because of its ability to unite people in its festivity. All people, rich and poor, people of all castes, brahmins or shudras equally enjoy the fairs and the joy they bring. So much so that even Muslims participate by regularly taking part in the festival, from building the chariots to pulling the rath.

Wherever you are, celebrate and pray for this kind of unity in all devotion.

Puri Rathyatra:

Puri Rathyatra:
As part of Rath Yatra, the idols of Lord Puri Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Subhadra are taken out in a procession to Gundicha Temple and remain there for nine days. Then the idols or Rath Yatra returns to Puri Jagannath temple. The return journey of Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra is known as Bahuda Yatra.

Lord Jagannath or Lord Krishna is believed to be a reincarnation or avatar of Lord Vishnu, one of the Gods in the Hindu trinity. Rath Yatra is of great significance to the Hindus, and especially to the people of Orissa. It is during this time that the three deities of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are taken out in a grand procession in specially made gigantic temple-like chariots called raths, which are pulled by thousands of devotees.

Mahesh Rathyatra:

Mahesh Rathyatra:
Mahesh Yatra is the grandest and the oldest Rathyatras in Bengal Besides Puri ,Orrisa. The Mahesh Rathyatra of 1875 is of special historical significance: A young girl was lost in the fair and amongst many, the district magistrate Bankim Chandra Chattopadhya - the great Bengali poet and author of India's National song- himself went out to search for the girl. A couple of months later this incident inspired him to write the famous novel Radharani.

Rath means chariot, Yatra - a pilgrimage or procession. Though this festival is celebrated all over India, in honour of Jagannath, an avtar of Vishnu.Processions are organised in Calcutta by the ISKON and in Serampore, north of Calcutta. Replicas of Jagannath's chariot are sold at Kalighat. Children decorate their chriots with flowers and place in them clay images of Jagannath, his brother Balaram and sister Subhadra.

Iskcon's Rath Yatra

Iskcon's Rath Yatra:
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) was established in 1966 by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (Srila Prabhupada). ISKCON has since developed into a worldwide confederation of 10,000 temple devotees and 250,000 congregational devotees.

ISKCON takes out a huge chariot which goes from Deshpriya Park in south Calcutta to Girish Park in the north. Prayers are held at the Vaishnav temple on Hazra Road. Replicas of Jagannath's chariot are sold at Kalighat. A week later is the Ulto Rath, marking the return of the Puri deities to their home. 

Idols Picture of Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra from  Temple of Calcutta, West Bengal.

Idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra. his 3D Picture Created by Me (Manash Kundu)

1 comment:

  1. if the best yatra place is puri in rathyatra is every year continuosly runing to ytra so best place yatra-coupons



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