July 4, 2019
Ratha Yatra is a Hindu festival associated with Lord Jagannath held at Puri in the state of Odisha, India. It is the oldest Ratha Yatrataking place in India and the World, whose descriptions can be found in Brahma Purana, Padma Purana, and Skanda Purana and Kapila Samhita.
This annual festival is celebrated on Ashadha Shukla Paksha Dwitiya (second day in bright fortnight of Ashadha month).
The festival commemorates Jagannath's annual visit to Gundicha Temple via Mausi Maa Temple (aunt's home) near Balagandi Chaka, Puri.
As part of Ratha Yatra, the deities of Jagannath, his elder brother Balabhadra and younger sister Subhadra are taken out in a procession to Gundicha Temple and remain there for nine days.They are also accompanied by Sudarshana chakra. Then the deities or Ratha Yatra return to the Main temple. The return journey of Puri Jagannath Ratha Jatra is known as Bahuda Jatra.
Three richly decorated chariots, resembling temple structures, are pulled through the streets of Puri called Badadanda. This commemorates the annual journey of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and their sister Subhadra to their aunt's temple, the Gundicha Temple which is situated at a distance of 2 km from their temple. This is the only day when devotees who are not allowed in the temple premises, such as non-Hindus and foreigners, can get their glimpse of the deities. During the festival, devotees from all over the world go to Puri with an earnest desire to help pulling the Lords' chariots with the help of other priests pulling the chariots with ropes. They consider this auspicious deed. The huge processions accompanying the chariots play devotional songs with drums, tambourines, trumpets etc. Children line the streets through which the chariot will pass and add to the mass chorus. The Ratha carts themselves are approximately 45 feet (14 m) high and are pulled by the thousands of pilgrims who turn up for the event; the chariots are built anew each year only from a particular type of tree. Millions of devotees congregate at Puri for this annual event from all over the country and abroad. It is also broadcast live on many Indian, foreign television channels as well as many of the websites telecast jagannath ratha jatra live.