|Ratha Yatra of Puri|
|Also called||Ghosha Jātrā|
|Begins||Āshādha Shukla Dvitiyā|
|Ends||Āshādha Shukla Dashami|
|2022 date||1 July|
|2023 date||20 June|
|2024 date||7 July|
|2025 date||27 June|
The Ratha Yatra of Puri, also rendered as the Ratha Jatra (Odia: ରଥଯାତ୍ରା, lit. 'chariot festival') (/ˈrʌθə ˈjɑːtrɑː/, Odia pronunciation: [ɾɔt̪ʰɔ dʒat̪ɾa]) is an annual Hindu chariot festival celebrated on the bright half of the lunar month of Ashadh (June-July). The festival is associated with the deity Jagannath (a form Vishnu or Krishna) held at the city of Puri in the state of Odisha, India. During the festival, the three deities (Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra) are pulled in three massive, wooden chariots to Gundicha Temple whereby they reside there for a week and then return to the Jagnannath temple. It is the oldest Ratha Yatra, whose descriptions can be found in Brahma Purana, Padma Purana, the Skanda Purana, and the Kapila Samhita. This Ratha Yatra is the celebration of the occasion of the deity Jagannath, journeying towards his aunt's house.
The presiding deities of the Jagannath Temple, Puri's main temple, Jagannath, Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra, with the celestial wheel- Sudarshana Chakra (ସୁଦର୍ଶନ ଚକ୍ର) are removed from the temple in a ceremonial procession to their chariots. The huge, colourfully decorated chariots are drawn by multitude of devotees on the bada danda, the grand avenue to the Gundicha Temple (Gundicha– King Indradyumna's Queen), two miles away to the North. On the way the chariot of Jagannatha, Nandighosa (ନନ୍ଦିଘୋଷ) waits near the crematorium of Bhakta Salabega (ଭକ୍ତ ସାଲବେଗ), a Muslim devotee, to pay him tribute.
On their way back from the Gundicha Temple, the three deities stop for a while near the Mausi Maa Temple (Aunt's abode) and have an offering of the Poda Pitha, which is a special type of pancake supposed to be the deity's favourite. After a stay of seven days, the deities return to their abode.
The three chariots of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are newly constructed every year with wood of specified trees like phassi, dhausa, etc. They are customarily brought from the ex-princely state of Dasapalla by a specialist team of carpenters who have hereditary rights and privileges for the same. The logs are traditionally set afloat as rafts in the river Mahanadi. These are collected near Puri and then transported by road.
The three chariots are decorated as per the unique scheme prescribed and followed for centuries stand on the Bada Danda, the Grand Avenue. The chariots are lined across the wide avenue in front of the temple close to its eastern entrance, which is also known as the Sinhadwara or the Lion's Gate.
Around each of the chariots are nine Parsva devatas, painted wooden images representing different deities on the chariots' sides. Each chariot has a charioteer (Sarathi) and four horses.
|Name of Chariot||Nandighosha (ନନ୍ଦିଘୋଷ)||Taladhwaja (ତାଳଧ୍ୱଜ)||Darpadalana (ଦର୍ପଦଳନ)|
|Alternates name of Chariot||Garudadhwaja, Kapidhwaja||Langaladhwaja||Devadalana, Padmadhwaja|
|Number of wheels||16||14||12|
|Total Number of wooden pieces used||832||763||593|
|Height||44' 2"||43' 3"||42' 3"|
|Length and breadth||34'6" x 34'6"||33' x 33'||31'6" x 31'6"|
|Colours of the canopies||Red, Yellow
(yellow associated with Vishnu)
|Red, Bluish green||Red, Black
(Black associated with the Goddess)
|Flag emblem||Palm Tree|
|Name of Horses||
|Colour of Horses||White||Black||Red|
|Name of Chariot Rope||Sankhachuda Nagini||Basuki Naga||Swarnachuda Nagini|
|Nine parshvadevata (Subsidiary deities)|
The construction of the chariots starts on Akshaya Tritiya, the third day of the bright fortnight of Vaisakha, with ritual fire worship. This takes place in front of the palace of the King of Puri and opposite the main office of the Puri temple. On this day, the new agricultural season starts and farmers start plowing their fields. This day also marks the beginning of the summer festival of the deities, also known as the sandalwood festival or Chandan Yatra, which lasts for three weeks. In this festival, the representative images of the presiding deities are taken out in colorful processions and given a ceremonial boat ride in the Narendra pokhari/tank every day. In an interesting demonstration of the assimilative character of the Jagannatha cult, Madanmohana and Rama-Krishna, representing Jagannatha & Balarama partake in the festival with the representatives' images of the presiding deities of five main Shiva temples of Puri. These are curiously known as Pancha Pandava, the five brothers of the Mahabharata story. Later the deities have a ritual bath in a small temple in the middle of the tank, in stone tubs filled with water, sandalwood paste, scents, and flowers.
This sandalwood festival culminates in the Snana Yatra, the Bathing Festival on the full moon day of the month of Jestha. On this day, the presiding deities descend from their seats on an elevated platform in the sanctum sanctorum(Garbha gruha), the bejeweled throne. They are bathed in 108 pots of water brought from the suna kua, the golden well and assume the elephant form on the special platform, close to the Eastern boundary wall of the temple. From that day the deities remain in symbolic and ritual convalescence for about two weeks. They are barred from the view of the ordinary devotees. Only three special patta chitras, traditional Oriya paintings of natural colors on cloth stiffened with starch, known as Anasara Pattis, are strung on a bamboo screen hiding the deities from public view, can be seen by the public. During this period, the deities are given only roots, leaves, berries and fruits to cure them of their indisposition. This ritual is a reminder of the strong tribal elements in the genesis and evolution of the Jagannatha cult. The progeny of Lalita, daughter of the original tribal worshipper Biswabasu, chieftain of hunters, and the Brahmin priest Vidyapati, are known as daitapatis or daitas. They have the almost exclusive privilege of serving the deityduring the convalescence and through the entire period of Ratha Jatra or the Festival of Chariots.
After the chariots of the deities return to the main temple from the Gundicha temple, the deities are attired in gold ornaments and worshipped on the chariots. This celebration is known as Suna Besha. Tradition maintains that this event was first started by King Kapilendra Deva in 1460, when after returning victorious from war he donated gold to Jagannath. The deities are adorned with gold jewelry weighing nearly 208 kg. In 2014 nearly nine hundred thousand devotees witnessed this event held on 9 July
Lakhs of devotees thronged the coastal town of Puri to catch the glimpse of deities re-embodied after 19 years on chariots on the occasion of Rath Yatra, marking largest-ever religious congregation in Odisha.
The Ratha Yatra festival has become a common sight in most major cities of the world since 1968 through the ISKCON Hare Krishna movement. By the mercy of Mahaprabhu Shri Jagannath and Chaitanya, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada had successfully transplanted the festival which now happens on an annual basis in places all over the world in over 108 cities including; Moscow, New York, Houston, Atlanta, London, Rome, Zürich, Kolkata, Mumbai, Karachi, Berlin, Heidelberg, Cologne, Florence, Wroclaw, Sydney, Perth, Kampala, Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Mexico City, Dublin, Belfast, Manchester, Birmingham, Alchevsk, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Stockholm, Bath, Budapest, Auckland, Melbourne, Montreal, Paris, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Toronto, Vancouver, Santiago, Tallinn, Lima, Antwerp, Sofia, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Oslo, Zhongshan, Myitkyina, Bangkok and many other cities. The Ratha Yatra in Dhamrai, Bangladesh, is one of the most important in Bangladesh.
This table shows the dates for Ratha Yatra held in Puri, Odisha. These dates shows from the Year Nabakalebara, 2015 to the Year of next (After 19 years) Nabakalebara, 2034.
|Ratha Yatra in Puri|
|Year||Starting Date||Ending Date
(Exactly on 9th day Of Ratha Yatra, Including starting day)
|2015||18 July||26 July|
|2016||6 July||14 July|
|2017||25 June||3 July|
|2018||14 July||22 July|
|2019||4 July||12 July|
|2020||23 June||1 July|
|2021||12 July||20 July|
|2022||1 July||9 July|
|2023||20 June||28 June|
|2024||7 July||15 July|
|2025||27 June||5 July|
|2026||16 July||24 July|
|2027||5 July||13 July|
|2028||23 June||1 July|
|2029||13 July||21 July|
|2030||2 July||10 July|
|2031||22 June||30 June|
|2032||9 July||17 July|
|2033||28 June||6 July|
|2034||17 July||25 July|
Jagannath temple employs different kinds of sevakas who offer their services on the Ratha.
Hera Panchami is a ritual observed during the period of Rath Yatra in the Grand Jagannath Temple of Puri. It is known as a ritual of Goddess Lakshmi. The fifth day from Rath Yatra, i.e., the fifth day in bright fortnight of Ashadha is known as the Hera Panchami. During Ratha Yatra, lord Jagannath comes out on a divine outing with his brother Sri Balabhadra and sister Maa Subhadra along with his divine weapon Sri Sudarshana, leaving behind His wife Mahalaxmi. The Goddess expresses her anger for the deity. She proceeds to the Gundicha Temple, the Adapa Mandapa in a palanquin in the form of a Subarna Mahalaxmi and threatens Him to come back to the temple at the earliest. To make Her pleased, the deityconcedes to Her by offering her agyan mala (a garland of consent). Seeing the Goddess furious, the sevakas close the main door of the Gundicha. Mahalaxmi returns to the main temple through the Nakachana gate. In a unique ritual, the Goddess orders one of her attendants to damage a part of the Nandighosa chariot. This is followed by her hiding behind a tamarind tree outside the Gundicha Temple. After some time, she escapes to her home temple in secrecy, through a separate path way known as Hera Gohri Lane The unique ritual is enjoyed by lakhs of devotees of Jagannath.
The rituals of Hera Panchami as an important function of Srimandira finds mention in Skanda Purana. According to the history of the Temple, this "utsav" started during the time of Maharaja Kapilendra Deb. Before his reign, the Hera Panchami function was being observed in a symbolic way with recitation of Mantras.As stated in Madala Panji, Raja Kapilendra Deb substituted this practice with the introduction of an idol of Mahalaxmi made of gold and making the celebration more realistic.
It is celebrated on Ashada Shukla Panchami, fifth day in bright fortnight of Ashadha month in Oriya calendar.
'Hera' means to 'see' and 'Panchami' means the 'fifth day'.
Laxmi sets out in night and visits the Gundicha Temple through Badadanda and returns secretly through the Heragohiri Sahi or street after breaking a piece of wood of Nandigosha Ratha