Are you ready for a once-in-a-lifetime spiritual adventure? Do you want to join millions of pilgrims and tourists in witnessing one of the oldest and grandest Hindu festivals on earth? Do you want to explore Odisha’s rich traditions and culture in a fun and exciting way? If yes, then you should definitely mark your calendar for the Ratha Yatra Festival!
Rath Yatra Schedule 2023
- Snana Purnima: 04 June 2023
- Rath Yatra: 20 June 2023
- Bahuda Yatra: 28 June 2023
- Suna Besha: 29 June 2023
- Adhara Pana: 30 June 2023
- Niladri Bije: 01 July 2023
Ratha Yatra, also known as the Chariot Festival, is a celebration of the journey of Lord Jagannath and his siblings from their Shree Mandir to their aunt’s temple and back. It is a festival of love, grace, and joy that fills the streets of Puri with colorful and sacred rituals for several days.
The Ratha Yatra is a time of great excitement and celebration for the people of Puri and Hindus worldwide. The festival is marked by a number of sacred rituals, including:
Brief Overview of the Main Steps Involved:
Snana Yatra: A Divine Bathing Festival
Snana Yatra is also called Deva Snan Purnima and is an important ritual in Puri. This is the bathing ceremony of the deities that takes place two weeks before the Ratha Yatra. The deities are taken out of the temple and bathed with 108 pitchers of water by the priests. This festival is celebrated on the full moon day of Jyeshtha month, which is considered to be the auspicious birthday of Lord Jagannath.
The Snana Yatra marks the beginning of a series of rituals and ceremonies that culminate in the Ratha Yatra, the grand chariot festival of Puri. The deities undergo various transformations and experiences during this period, which are believed to reflect their human-like emotions and activities.
Anasara: A Period of Rest and Recuperation:
The Anasara period is a time for the deities to rest and recuperate after the Snana Yatra. The deities are taken to a secluded chamber called the Anasara Ghara, where they are treated with Ayurvedic medicines by the Raj Vaidya. During this time, the deities are not visible to the public and their paintings are displayed instead. This period lasts for 15 days and ends with Netrotsava, the festival of the eyes, when the deities are adorned with new clothes and ornaments and brought back to the main temple. Devotees also visit the Alarnatha temple in Bramhagiri, where they worship Lord Jagannath as Alarnatha during this time.
Nava Yauvana Darshana: A Display of New Appearance
This is the day when the deities are ready to come out of their seclusion and display their new appearance to the devotees. They wear new clothes and ornaments and are adorned with flowers. They look fresh and youthful as if they have regained their vitality after a long illness. This day is also known as Nava Kalebara Darshana, as it is believed that the deities have changed their bodies or forms.
Netrotsava: An Eye-Opening Ceremony
This is the eye-opening ceremony of the deities that takes place on the eve of the Ratha Yatra. The priests remove the old eyes of the deities and paint new ones, signifying their awakening and readiness for the journey. The deities also receive a special offering called Mahaprasad from their devotees on this day.
Pahandi: A Procession to the Chariots
This is the procession of the deities from the temple to their respective chariots. The deities are carried by the priests in a rhythmic movement accompanied by music and chants. The procession is a spectacle of devotion and joy, as thousands of people gather to witness it and seek blessings from the deities.
Chhera Pahanra: A Ritual Sweeping of the Chariots
This is the ritual sweeping of the chariots by the king of Puri, who acts as a humble servant of the deities. He cleanses the chariots with a golden broom and sprinkles sandalwood water on them. He also offers flowers, incense, lamps and cloth to each deity. This ritual signifies that even though he is a king, he is subordinate to Lord Jagannath.
Ratha Pratishtha: An Invocation of Life Force into the Chariots
This is the invocation of life force into the chariots by the priests. They perform a fire sacrifice and transferthe sacred fire to the chariots, making them ready for the journey. They also chant mantras and prayers to invoke protection and auspiciousness for the deities and their devotees.
Ratha Tana: A Pulling of the Chariots
This is the actual pulling of the chariots by the devotees along the grand avenue to
the Gundicha Temple. The chariots are pulled with ropes amid chants of “Jai Jagannath” (Hail Jagannath) and “Hari Bol” (Say Hari). The chariots are huge wooden structures that weigh several tons each and have different names and features. Lord Jagannath’s chariot is called Nandighosha or Garudadhwaja, Lord Balabhadra’s chariot is called Taladhwaja or Langaladhwaja, and Devi Subhadra’s chariot is called Darpadalana or Padmadhwaja.
Gundicha Marjana: A Cleansing of the Gundicha Temple
This is the cleansing of the Gundicha Temple by the devotees before the arrival of the deities. They sweep and wash the temple premises with water and cow dung. They also decorate the temple with flowers, leaves, and rangoli. The Gundicha Temple is considered to be the birthplace of Lord Jagannath and his siblings, and also their aunt’s house, where they spend a week as guests.
Adapa Mandapa Darshana: A Viewing of the Deities in their Chariots
This is the darshan (viewing) of the deities in their respective chariots outside the Gundicha Temple. The devotees offer prayers and offerings to them and seek their blessings. The deities look very graceful and benevolent in their chariots, as they bestow their mercy on everyone.
Sri Gundicha: An Entry into the Gundicha Temple
This is the entry of the deities into the Gundicha Temple, where they stay for seven days. They are placed on a pedestal inside the sanctum sanctorum and worshipped by the priests. They also receive various offerings from their devotees, such as fruits, sweets, cakes, and rice.
Hera Panchami: A Ritual Performed by Goddess Lakshmi
This is a ritual performed by Goddess Lakshmi, who is left behind in the main temple, to express her anger and jealousy towards her husband Jagannath for leaving her alone. She visits him at Gundicha Temple and breaks a part of his chariot. She then returns to her temple after being appeased by her attendants. This ritual symbolizes the love-hate relationship between the divine couple.
Sandhya Darshana: An Evening Viewing of the Deities at Gundicha Temple
This is an evening darshan of the deities at Gundicha Temple on the fifth day of their stay there. They wear special costumes and ornaments and look very beautiful. They also receive a special offering called Rasagola Bhoga from their devotees, which is a sweet dish made of cheese balls soaked in sugar syrup.
Bahuda Yatra: A Return Journey of the Deities from Gundicha Temple
This is the return journey of the deities from Gundicha Temple to their main temple on their chariots. They follow the same route as before but stop at another temple called Mausi Maa Temple on their way back.
Mausi Maa Pahandi: A Ritual where Jagannath Offers a Special Pancake to his Aunt
This is a ritual where Jagannath offers a special pancake called Poda Pitha to his aunt Mausi Maa at her temple. He also receives some gifts from her such as coconuts, betel nuts, clothes and ornaments. This ritual shows the affection and respect between Jagannath and his aunt.
Suna Besha: A Decoration of the Deities with Gold Ornaments
This is a ritual where the deities are decorated with gold ornaments and jewellery on their chariots outside the main temple. They look very splendid and majestic in their golden attire. They also receive a special offering called Adhara Pana from their devotees, which is a sweet drink served on huge earthen pots.
Adhara Pana: A Sweet Drink Offered to the Deities on their Chariots
This is a ritual where the deities are offered a sweet drink called Adhara Pana on huge earthen pots on their chariots. The drink is later spilled on the ground for the consumption of evil spirits and ghosts. This ritual is meant to satisfy all kinds of beings and create harmony in the world.
Niladri Bije: A Final Ritual where the Deities are Taken Back to their Sri Mandir
This is the final ritual where the deities are taken back to their Sri Mandir and placed on their thrones inside the sanctum sanctorum. They are reunited with Goddess Lakshmi, who welcomes them with a ritual called Lakshmi Narayan Bheta. This ritual marks the end of the Ratha Yatra festival and the restoration of normalcy in the temple.
These are the main steps involved in the Ratha Yatra festival in Puri. There are many other minor rituals and ceremonies that take place during this festival, which make it a grand and auspicious occasion for the devotees and visitors.
Published By : Mypuritour.com