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Keonjhar Rath Yatra – Unique – Biggest And Largest Chariot In The World

Keonjhar Rath Yatra in Odisha is unique and is slightly different from the world-famous Puri Jagannath Rath yatra. The chariot of Balabhadra here is the biggest and largest chariot in the world 22 m (72 ft) x 14 m (45 ft) x 14 m (45 ft). The Puri Jagannath Chariot pulled in Puri temple is 45 feet six inches in height. Breadth and length is 34 feet X 6 inches.

The most important difference is that instead of coir rope, Siali creeper is used to prepare the ropes to pull the chariot of Balabhadra or Sri Baladev Jew.

The chariot of Balabhadra is known as Nandighosha in Keonjhar. It is known as Taladwaja in Puri Jagannath temple.

The main deity in the Keonjhar temple is Balabhadra. The shrine is popularly known as Matia Bandha or Shri Jagannath temple.

The rituals of the Keonjhar Sri Baladevjew temple are same as Puri Jagannath temple. But here the three deities are taken from the temple to Gundicha Temple or Mausi Ma Temple through the one kilometer Bada danda road in one chariot. 

On the Rath Yatra day, Balabhadra, Jagannath and Subhadra visit aunt’s house ‘Mausi Ma temple’ for ‘Lila Darshan.’ The pulling of the chariot begins in the evening and it reaches its destination in less than two hours.

The Siali creeper used to make the ropes used to pull the chariot is collected by the Bhuyan tribes from the Gandhamardan forest.

Bhuyan tribes start their search for the creepers from Akshaya Tritiya. As per the tradition, only those creepers are chosen in which no bird’s nest is found. Moreover, the creepers covering a tree from its top to bottom are selected for the purpose. After collecting the creepers, the barks of those creepers are brought to Danla village near Banspa.

After collecting the required amount of Siali creepers, the Bhuyan tribes start processing those to peel barks. Then they have to wait till Snana Purnima. After getting ‘angyamala’ from Bhagavan, preparation of the special chariot ropes starts. Three ropes with a length of 150 feet and breadth of six inches each are prepared out of Siali creepers for pulling the Nandighosha chariot up to Mausima temple.