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Ratha Yatra: The Chariot Festival of Divine Union


India  •  21 Jun, 2023  •  1,389 Views  •  ⭐ 5.0

Written by Shivani Chourasia


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Ratha Yatra, also known as the Chariot Festival, is one of the most celebrated and eagerly anticipated Hindu festivals in India. This annual event draws millions of devotees from across the country and around the world who gather to witness the grand procession of deities on intricately decorated chariots. In this blog, we will delve into the origins of the Ratha Yatra, its historical significance, and the profound devotion and joy it evokes among its participants.

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The Origin of Ratha Yatra

Travel Articles | Travel Blogs | Travel News & Information | Travel Guide |  India.comHistory of Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra: How it all began | India.com
Image Credits: India.com

Ratha Yatra has its roots in the ancient city of Puri, located in the eastern Indian state of Odisha. The festival is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, an incarnation of Lord Krishna, along with his sister Subhadra and brother Balabhadra. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Jagannath would visit his birthplace, Vrindavan, for a short period each year to meet his devotees. Ratha Yatra symbolizes this divine journey of Lord Jagannath, where he travels from his main temple, the Jagannath Temple in Puri, to the Gundicha Temple, a distance of approximately three kilometres.

Historical Significance

Govardhan Math on Twitter: "#RathYatra2019 Photos. [ Thread ] Jagadguru  Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati ji Jai Jagannath 🚩 🚩 # RathYatra https://t.co/2wdAYyobnO" / Twitter
Image Credits: Twitter

The history of the Ratha Yatra dates back several centuries. It is believed that the festival was first celebrated in the 12th century by the renowned saint and philosopher, Jagadguru Shankaracharya. Over time, the festival grew in popularity and became an integral part of the religious and cultural fabric of the region. It is not only an occasion for devotion but also an opportunity for people to come together, irrespective of caste, creed, or social status, to celebrate the divine union of Lord Jagannath with his devotees.

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The Chariot Procession

Rath Yatra: Significance, history and an opportunity to serve the Lord -  Oneindia News
Image Credits: OneIndia

The highlight of Ratha Yatra is the grand chariot procession, where the deities are taken out of the Jagannath Temple and placed on elaborately crafted wooden chariots. Each deity has its chariot: Lord Jagannath rides the Nandighosa chariot, Lord Balabhadra rides the Taladhwaja chariot, and Goddess Subhadra rides the Darpadalana chariot. These towering chariots, adorned with vibrant colours, intricate artwork, and auspicious symbols, are pulled by thousands of devotees who eagerly participate in this sacred act.

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