Jagannath Rath Yatra, which continues for nine days, began on July 14th. Lakhs of devotees have descended at the Jagannath Temple of Puri. The procession is carried out every year. This year it is the 141st celebration of the Rath Yatra. Going to the temple and offering prayers to the deity is considered to bring auspiciousness in life.
Even if you cannot go to the temple for some reason, you can offer prayers to the deity at home as well. Just another form of Lord Krishna, Lord Jagannath is easy to please and fulfils all the wishes of his devotees. You can offer your prayers to him through the procedure mentioned below.
How To Perform Lord Jagannath Puja
To perform Jagannath Puja at home, you should just carry out the aarti in the right and way it is sufficient to please the god for a true devotee. Coconut and sandalwood paste are very dear to Lord Jagannath; hence, you must not forget to offer coconut in the puja tray. Just performing the aarti two-three times a day will please the deity.
Before performing the aarti, make sure you decorate the idol well, especially using flowers and sandalwood paste. Then offer timber pushpanjali and light dhoop and deep (an earthen lamp). Spread the fragrance of dhoop using the mantra -
_Etasmaye Dhoopaye Namah_
Then sprinkle some Gangajal. After this, offer the Gandh Pushpam while chanting the mantra -
_Idam Dhoopam Om Namoh Narayanaye Namah_
Then perform Dhoop Aarti. After the aarti, take five diyas, offer them to the deity and chant the mantra -
_Etasmaye Nirajan Deep Malaye Om Namoh Naraynaaye_
Sprinkle Gangajal again. Once again, take Gandha Pushpa and perform the aarti chanting the mantra -
_Esh Nirqanjan Deep Malaaye, Om Namah Narayanaaye_
Now offer camphor and water using a shankh. Conclude the aarti by blowing the shank and offering pranaam to the goddess. Now you can offer dhoop deep aarti to the devotees, and then distribute bhog prasad amongst them.
But not to forget, if you have performed the aarti on the first day of Rath Yatra, then you must offer prayers and an aarti on the Poorna Rath Yatra day as well.
Jagannath Rath Yatra As An Important Festival
Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra is seen as the most important festival not only in India but across the world. Lots of devotees gather to witness the yatra. Lord Vishnu in his Jagannath avatar, along with brother Balbhadra and sister Subhadra, is carried in chariots through the streets.
While the chariot of Baalbhadra leads, the chariot of Subhadra follows and then moves the chariot of Lord Jagannath. It is believed that foreigners and non-Hindus are not let inside the temple premises; thus, the procession is the only chance they can see the temple deities.
The procession is carried from Jagannath Temple to Gundicha Temple. On the way, it stops at a place where a Muslim devotee was cremated. It is believed he waits to pay his prayers to the deity, while the chariots pass him by. The chariots stay for a few days at the Gundicha Temple and on the ninth day, they are taken back to the Jagannath Temple.
On the way back, the chariots stop at Mausi Maa Temple, where they are offered the favourite sweets of Lord Jagannath which Mausi Maa used to prepare.
People Seek Chances To Be A Part Of The Procession
During the Rath Yatra, the devotees seek chances to drag the chariot, doing which brings good luck to them. Others walk along with and behind the procession, singing prayers and dancing in groups. Children and their enthusiasm add colour to the whole Rath Yatra.
Lord Jagannath Cannot See His Devotees Suffering
According to the story which is often narrated behind the procession, Lord Jagannath fell sick for fifteen days because he had taken the fever and sufferings of one of his devotees.
Lord Jagannath blesses his devotees and fulfils all their desires provided they worship him with dedication. If you can, go there to offer prayers to the god during this holy occasion.