Jagannath Ratha Yatra

Why To Go

Jai Jagannath, these two words cast a magic spell on any devout Oriya living anywhere in the world. Lord Jagannath shares an exceptional relationship with Oriyas. For them, he is Jaga, Kalia, Chakadola, Chakayana. The day of this Ratha yatra is considered to be the most auspicious in the Oriya together. When Lord Jagannath revered as Patitabhan in a rare gesture of divinity comes out from the shrine to shower blessings on his devotees, the divine sight of him and his fellow deities redeems one from all sins.

This festival said to be the most significant religious congregation after the Kumbh Mela; the Ratha Yatra in Puri spreads over 11 days. The most significant draw of devotees is seen on the days of chariots are pulled, the actual Ratha Yatra day and the Bahuda Yatra, or return car festival. This is the only occasion when everybody has access to the deities. Puri is also considered as one of the Chaar Dhams, 4 religious and holy spots.

The people who help in the pulling of the chariot consider it a pious deed and are also willing to risk their lives in the bargain by making their way through the vast crowd. The large procession that usually accompanies the chariots plays many devotional songs accompanied by drums, tambourines, trumpets, among other instruments. Children often throng the streets through which the giant chariot passes while adding to the celebrations. The Ratha carts are around 45 feet (14 m) high and are pulled by thousands of devotees that attend this auspicious event. A new chariot is built every year from a particular type of tree. Devotees from other parts of the globe also come to Puri during this time for the festival. The annual event is also broadcast on many Indian and foreign television channels with live telecasts available.

Travel Tips

Tourists and devotees are advised to book their tickets at least 2-3 months before the start of the festival owing to the massive influx of people. The festival usually takes place in the second or third week of July. Therefore, getting there a week before is recommended to visit other significant landmarks in the vicinity, including The Sun Temple in Konark and Lingaraja Temple, located in Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha. Those who wish to make a day trip from Bhubaneswar to see the pulling of the chariots can opt for the Rath Yatra package offered by the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation.

Things To Do

Ratha Yatra or more commonly referred to as the Chariot Festival, is among the most famous Hindu festivals in India and is associated with Lord Jagannath held in the historically significant location – Puri in the state of Odisha, India. This festival is celebrated annually during the Ashad Shukla Dwitiya (referring to the 2nd day in the bright fortnight of Asherah month). The festival signifies the start of Lord Jagannatha visit to Gundicha Mata’s temple annually after visiting his aunt’s home (Mausi Maa Temple, which is situated proximate to Balagandi Chaka in Puri). As part of Jagannath Ratha Jatra, the deities of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are taken out in a massive procession to Gundicha Temple where they remain there for close to nine days. After nine days, the Ratha Jatra returns to the main temple. This return journey to Puri is commonly referred to as Bahuda Jatra. Taking a dip in the sea at Puri is also considered a holy act.

Getting Around

Public transport and taxis are available for getting around locally. Cycle rickshaws are available a plenty and you may book private cars, too.

How To Reach

FLIGHT

Bhubaneswar airport is the nearest airport to Puri and from the airport you may avail hired cars, taxi, private cars to reach the holy town of Puri.

TRAIN

Puri railway station part of the east coast railway is connected by direct trains to New Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Jodhpur, and Haridwar. Those approaching from the south will find it easier to get down at Bhubaneswar and proceed to Puri by road.

ROAD

There are direct buses from Kolkata to Puri, usually an overnight trip. From Bhubaneswar, there are buses every 30 minutes. It is a pleasant drive through green paddy fields, coconut groves, and small villages, most notably Pipli, the hamlet renowned for its colourful applique work.

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Surrounding Attractions

There are direct buses from Kolkata to Puri, usually an overnight trip. From Bhubaneswar, there are buses every 30 minutes. It is a pleasant drive through green paddy fields, coconut groves, and small villages, most notably Pipli, the hamlet renowned for its colourful applique work.
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