It is a grand celebration, cultural extravaganza and stunning spectacle. Nicknamed the Festival of Chariots, it draws pouring crowds of devotees brimming with enthusiasm. Numerous legends of the Puri Jagannath Temple and the Rath Yatra Festival capture the imagination.
Here are 10 amazing facts about the Puri Rath Yatra Festival!
1. Structure of a Hindu temple
The top of the chariots of Lord Jagannath and other two deities resembles the structure of a Hindu temple. Canopies for the chariots are made of almost 1200 meters of cloth. A team of 15 tailors make the canopies.
2. Resting in high fever time
It is believed that Lord Jagannath suffers from fever before the Rath Yatra begins. This is the reason why devotees are not allowed to enter the temple during this time
The occasion is celebrated every year on the Ashadh Shukla Dwitiya, according to Hindu calendar. And, apparently, there hasn’t been a single Rath Yatra day ever when it hasn’t rained in Puri!
4.The only temple where deity walks out
It is the only festival in the world where the deity is taken out of the temple.
5. Breaking the caste barrier
On this auspicious day, the barriers of caste, religion and creed simply vanish and it is humanity that is worshipped!
6. Lords and their chariots
The three deities, Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra travel in three different chariots. Lord Jagannath’s chariot, has 16 wheels, Lord Balaram’s chariot, has 14 wheels, Devi Subhadra’s chariot has 12 wheels.
7. New chariots, every year
The chariots are constructed each year with new set of wood, and must be an absolute replica of the past!
8. When Lord resists from moving
Legend has it that Lord Jagannath was unwilling to visit his aunt’s place, so no matter how many thousands of devotees push the chariot, it simply refuses to move a bit from its place. It’s only after hours of pushing that it would finally show movement!
9.The King and his golden mop
Lord Jagannath only comes out from the temple after the king of Puri sweeps the path himself by his mop made of pure gold!
10. Poda Pitha
When the Lord returns to the temple, he stops once during the journey. That’s because Lord Jagannath can’t be back home without tasting his favorite sweet, Poda Pitha, a special kind of pancake made in Odisha, on the way!
11. Ratha Yatra Goes Global
Ratha Yatra has become one of the major international festivals. Cities like Dublin, New York, Toronto and Laos etc. also celebrate this festival.
The Jagannath ‘Rath Yatra’ or ‘Chariot Festival’ is the most important festival of Lord Jagannath. lt is said that those who take part in this yatra earn their passage to the Heaven.