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Rath Yatra Puja Vidhi and Vrat Katha - Know About Rath Yatra Celebration

RATH YATRA: FESTIVAL OF CHARIOTS

Place of Merriment: Puri, Orissa
Rath Yatra Puja Vidhi and Rath Yatra Vrat Katha

Monsoons in India are a paradise made in heaven. If you happen to tour India, during the months of June-July, do not miss out on the enchanting ten-day festival 'Rath Yatra' carried out in Puri, located in Orissa. Rath Yatra is a great festival to unite people in its festivity. All people irrespective of economic and social background enjoy the fairs and the joy they bring.

What is Rath Yatra?

The words 'Rath Yatra' is derived from the word 'rath' and 'yatra' meaning 'chariot' and 'pilgrimage' respectively. Horses draw these pilgrimages of chariots. According to Vedic scriptures, the word 'Rath' has a great significance in the context of the Mahabharatha war.

Puri Rath Yatra

This festival of chariots attracts millions of pilgrims and tourists all over the world. The sentiment and mood of this religious spot 'Puri' comes alive with a spectacular procession of three decorated chariots. According to religious belief, it is said that those who have a glimpse of Lord Jagannath give salvation. However during Rath Yatra, there are three gigantic decorated chariots carrying the images of Lord Jagannath (The Lord of the Universe), his sister Subhadra and brother Balhadra are taken out in a procession.

Measuring to about 14 feet high with 16 wheels, the construction of these chariots begins in April. Many artists and artisans are engaged in building these three chariots. They weave it with fabric covers, dress, and paint with the right kinds of shade to give them extravagant and attractive looks. It is interesting to note, that nearly a team of 14-15 tailors are engaged in stitching up the covers that require nearly 1200 meters of cloth.

Legends Of Rath Yatra

Usually the deities - Jagannath (Krishna), Baladeva and Subhadra are worshipped within the temple, but on this one day, they are taken through the streets so that everyone can have the fortune of seeing them. This commemorates the annual journey of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and their sister Subhadra to their aunt' s temple.

Rath Yatra Rituals

The Chariots are lined up and decorated in front of the Puri Temple. The Rath Yatra processions are flagged off after the rituals performed by the King of Puri. It is said that only the Kings of Nepal and Puri are allowed to touch the idols of Lord Jagannath. In his grandeur and ceremonial style, the King sweeps the chariot platforms with a golden handled broom and sprinkle with scented water. When the chariots reach the summerhouse, the idols are installed. The journey back, a week later, consists of another ritual, known as Phera Rath Yatra.

Celebrations During Rath Yatra

Orissa is in a holiday mood during Rath Yatra. On this day, Puri wears a festive look resembling into mobile temples. Shops and houses are decorated with flowers and lights. It is a sight to watch children carrying miniature versions of the chariots with tiny idols.

Normally, devotees prefer a complete vegetarian fare with special sweets and dishes. As this festival falls during the monsoon season, people also thank the Gods for their mercy and bounty, by participating in the procession.

Rath Yatra Puja Vidhi : Method of Worship

  • Complete the dress up and place the idols in chauki
  • offer vogs and freshwater to the lord
  • offer the lord to lit up dhups and pradips
  • now make three sets of flowers with tulsi  
  • offer them one by one with mantra
  • after mantra do the aarti to the lord 
  • Now blow the shankha before the idol
  • and do the pranam and wish for wellness.

Rath Yatra Katha : Rath Yatra Story

After 36 years of the Mahabharata war, Lord Krishna's duties were completed in this mortal world. He wanted to leave this world and for that, he organized a Leela. He was wounded by the arrow of a Dhivar called Jara. After his death, Arjun cremated his body, To his surprise, Krishna's whole body burned down into ashes except his heart which was still beating. Arjun kept the heart with himself, as a Symbol of his deceased friend, guide, and Lord. One day, a divine voice asked Arjun to cast the heart into the sea. Arjun did the same. The heart was kept hovering on the sea turned into a blue statue of Lord Krishna.

The heart floated towards the eastern- coast of Indian and was collected by a
tribal leader called vishwavasu. The tribal group enshrined the statue during a cave and began worshiping it. The statue came to be referred to as Nilamadhava the blue Krishna. The frame of Nilamadhava reached many ears in India.
King Indradyumna had heard about Nilamadhava. He belief-the Lord needs a temple, not a primitive cave. He wanted to build a grand temple and enshrine the of Nilamadhava reached to many ears in India. However, nobody except the vishwavasu's group ever seen the statue. King Indradyumna had heard about Nilamadhava. He thought-the Lord needs
a temple, not a primitive cave. He wanted to build a grand temple and enshrine the statue of Nilamdhava In the temple.

For this, he appointed a person called viduapati to collect the statue for him.
To collect the statue, vidyapati made the Daughter of vishwavasu fall crazy with him. When she wanted to marry him, he asked for dowry- a view of the statue. To make his daughter happy, vishwavasu agreed to permit a view of the statue to vidyapati. He blindfolded him and took him to the cave, vishwavasu didn't know, that vidhyapati was secretly dropping Mustard seeds on the way. When vidyapati saw the statue, he was overcome by the view and sorrow for tricking the innocent tribal king like this.

After some months, came the monsoon. The mustard seeds gave rise to mustard plants. By that time, king Indradyumma came to retrieve the idol, Accompanied by his army. The social king beg Indradyumna to not take the idol. Seeing the love for his or her God, vidyapati too pleaded the king. king Indradyumna paid no heed to their request and rushed to the cave to gather the idol. To his surprise, the idol had vanished. Indradyumna realized his fault And asked for forgiveness. Indradyumna was severely moved by this incident.

He always kept pleading to the Lord to forgive him. One night, he saw a dream. In the dream, Lord Krishna ordered him to return to the sea-beach of puri and search for a wooden log which would bear the mark of Lord Krishna asked Indradyumna To carve out an idol from the wooden log. Indradyumna searched for the log on the beach. He found the log with the mark. This mark was known as "the Lord in the wood". After the idol of Nilamdhava(Lord Krishna's heart)vanished, it became a wooden log. The mark was the guts of Lord Krishna itself.

After someday, an old Man came to indradyumna. He said that he could form out idol from the woods. However, he had a condition. He would sculpt the idols during a locked room and no-one should disturb him. The king agreed to this. The sculptor started his work. The wife of the king, queen Gundicha would hear the work of the Sculptor by putting her ear on the door daily.
One day, she couldn't hear anything. She was afraid that the sculptor may need fallen ill, or may need to have a seizure. she rushed to the king and told about her fear. They both rushed to the room and opened the doors. To their surprise, the sculptor wasn't there and therefore the three incomplete idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and woman Subhadra stood there with their big round eyes and a naughty smile.

King Indradyumna enshrined the unfinished idols into the temple of puri. The mark of Shri Vishnu, the transformed heart of Lord Krishna was carved out the log and put Inside the idols. This heart is called "Daru Brahma" which means the "wooden soul". The idols of Lord Jagannath and Lord Balabhadra have no hands at all. Even after enshrining the idols inside the temple, king indradymna tried to find sculptures who could fix the hands of the idols.

However, no sculptor was able to fix That. King indradyumna was sad due to this. Lord Jagannath said that he takes care of the entire world, then he wants his ardent devotees to seem after his idol. He wants his devotees instead of leaving the path of karma.

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