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Jagannath Yatra, popularly known as Puri Rath Yatra is a famous chariot festival organised every year in Puri, Odisha. The festival is quite popular in Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. This year the festival begins from 12 July 2021. People in the North-Eastern states of India will be participating in this grand festival. Today we are here to tell some interesting facts about this festival. Scroll down the article to read more.
1. The festival is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, one of the manifestations of Lord Krishna.
2. During this festival, Lord Jagannath along with His siblings, Subhadra and Balram visit Gundicha Temple via Mausi Maa Temple situated near Saradha Bali, Puri.
3. The festival is celebrated by thousands of people pulling the chariots comprising the idols of Lord Jagannath, His weapon Sudarshan Chakra, elder brother Balbhadra also known as Balram and younger sister Subhadra.
4. Usually the three deities are worshipped inside the temple and most of the people aren't able to have a glimpse of the idols. But it is during the Rath Yatra, when the devotees can come to catch a glimpse of all the three deities.
5. The grand procession begins from the Jagannath Temple, where the idols are kept in the three different chariots.
6. The Chariots are made every year using wood from a particular tree. The Chariot of Lord Jagannath is 45 feet high and 35 feet square with 16 wooden wheels.
7. The construction of Lord Jagannath's chariot takes two months.
8. The Chariot of Balram and Subhadra have 14 and 12 wheels respectively.
9. Devotees believe in the notion that those who participate with utmost dedication and devotion in the Puri Rath Yatra, get rid of the cycle of birth and death. The person then attains salvation.
10. Thousands of people help in pulling the three heavy chariots. The Chariots are pulled for 3 kilometers to Gundicha Temple. The chariots stop at the Mausi Maa Temple. It is believed that the maternal aunt of Lord Jagannath resides in that temple and therefore, the deities visit Her.
11. The deities then continue their journey to the Gundicha Temple, where they reside for seven days. It is believed that Lord Jagannath along with His siblings
12. Since Goddess Lakshmi, the wife is left behind in the main temple, She gets furious and visits the Gundicha Temple on the fifth day of the festival. She comes in the form of Subharna Mahalakshmi.
13. The idol of the Goddess is carried to Gundicha Temple in a well-decorated palanquin with huge fan fare.
14. She is then welcomed and worshipped by the priests of Gundicha Temple. The husband and wife are then made to sit face-to-face.
15. Goddess Lakshmi then requests Lord Jagannath to return to His abode. The God accepts the request by giving Her a garland known as Agyan Mala.
16. The Goddess accepts the garland and decides to return to the main temple by the evening. However, before leaving, She orders one of Her attendants to destroy a small part of Lord Jagannath's Chariot known as Nandighosha. The ritual is known as Rath Bhanga.
17. Goddess Lakshmi then hides behind a tamarind tree to see the destruction of the Chariot and then She escapes to the main temple in secrecy.
18. There are many more rituals of the Rath Yatra festival that makes it even more special.
19. People in Odisha, especially Puri, await for this festival throughout the year.