Rath Yatra, the world famous chariot festival, at the
The making of the Raths for the annual yatra begin on the Akshaya Tritiya day. The main rituals associated with Puri Rath Yatra festival is spread over a month and several rituals, like Snana Purnima and Anasara, take place during this period.
The Snana Yatra or Snana Purnima (Bathing Festival) will take place on the full moon day in the month of Jyestha (May – June). In 2008, the Snana Purinma is on June 18. On this day, the deities – Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra – are bathed in one hundred and eight pitchers of water.
After the elaborate ritual bath, the three deities will stay away from public view and this is known as ‘anasara.’ It is believed that after such elaborate ritualistic bath the deities catch fever and therefore they do not return to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.
The idols of the three deities then make an appearance after 15 days of ‘anasara’ in a new appearance known as ‘Navaya Yauvana Vesha.’ The deities are given a fresh coat of paint.
Next is the Ratha Yatra (July 4, 2008). On this day, thousands of people will pull the three huge chariots carrying Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra through the grand road (Bada Danda) to the
On the fifth day, Goddess Lakshmi, wife of Lord Jagannath, comes in search of him to the Gundicha temple. On finding his chariot there, she damages Jagannath’s chariot and returns back in anger.
After the week-long stay, the three deities return and the journey is known as Bahuda Yatra. In 2008, it is on July 12.
During the return journey, the chariot of Jagannath stops at the
The deities reach the
On the next day, the deities are attired in new costumes and this new form of the idols is known as ‘Suna Vesa.’
The following day, the deities move into the sanctum sanctorum of the temple and the Rath Yatra festival comes to an end.
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