Jagannath Rath Yatra in the Year 2021 will be Celebrated on Sunday, 07th July 2021
Rathyatra of Lord Jagannath held at Puri(Orissa), every year during the months of June or July. This festival is devoted to Lord Vishnu. It is believed that Lord Jagannath with his elder brother Lord Balarama and sister Subhadra, goes on vacation, traveling from his temple in Puri, to their aunt' s temple, the Gundicha Temple which is situated at a distance of 2 km from their temple.
Rath Yatra is of great significance to the Hindu Devotees. During this time the three deities of Jagannath, Lord Balarama, and Subhadra are taken out in a grand procession in specially made temple-like chariots called raths, which are pulled by thousands of devotees.
Historical Origin : Many people believes that the custom of placing idols on grand chariots and pulling them is of Buddhist origin. Fa Hien, the Chinese historian, who visited India in the 5th century AD, had written about the chariot of Buddha being pulled along public roads.
How the Rath Yatra Festival is Celebrated : Three richly decorated chariots, resembling temple structures, are pulled through the streets of Puri. The festival begins with the Ratha Prathistha or invoking ceremony in the morning, but the Ratha pulling is the most exciting part of the festival, which begins in the late afternoon when the chariots of Jagannath, Lord Balarama, and Subhadra start rolling. Each of these carriages have different specifications:
Every year these wooden chariots are constructed a new in accordance with religious specifications. The idols of these three deities are also made of wood and they are religiously replaced by new ones every after 12 years. After a nine-day sojourn of the deities at the country temple amidst festivities, the divine summer vacation gets over and the three return to the city temple of Lord Jagannath.
Preparation for The Great Rath Yatra of Puri : Many artists and artisans are engaged in building these three chariots, weaving its fabric covers that dress up the chariots and painting them in the right shades and motifs to give them the best possible looks. The construction of the chariots starts on Akshaya Tritiya, the third day of the bright fortnight of Vaisakha, with ritual fire worship.
Fourteen tailors are engaged in stitching up the covers that require almost 1,200 meters of cloth. Orissa's government-run textile mill usually supply the cloth needed to decorate the chariots. However, other Bombay-based Century Mills also donate cloth for the Rath Yatra.
A Festival for Jagannath Rath Yatra is a great festival just because of its ability to unite people in its festivity. All people, rich and poor, brahmins or shudras equally enjoy the fairs and the joy they bring. People will be amazed to know that even Muslims participate in Rath Yatras! Muslim residents of Narayanpur, a village of about a thousand families in the Subarnapur district of Orissa, regularly take part in the festival, from building the chariots to pulling the Rath.