Journey of Faith: Jagannath Rath Yatra and Puri Rath Yatra

Journey of Faith: Jagannath Rath Yatra and Puri Rath Yatra


  • Puri Rath Yatra, synonymous with Jagannatha Ratha Yatra or Jagannatha Ratha Yatra, epitomizes the cultural and spiritual essence of Puri, Odisha, India. Rooted in ancient mythology and cherished traditions, this annual festival draws millions of devotees from across the globe. The heart of Puri beats with fervor as the majestic chariots, carrying the divine trinity of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Devi Subhadra, traverse through the city's streets amidst chants of "Jai Jagannath!" Let us embark on a journey to unravel the mystique and grandeur of Puri Rath Yatra.

Historical Background:

  • The genesis of Puri Rath Yatra can be traced back to centuries-old scriptures and legends. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Jagannath, the presiding deity of Puri, along with his siblings, embarks on an annual journey from the Jagannath Temple to the Gundicha Temple during the Jagannath Rath Yatra. This sacred procession symbolizes the journey of the divine to visit their aunt and is steeped in spiritual significance.

The Magnificent Chariots:

  • At the heart of Puri Rath Yatra are the towering chariots, meticulously crafted and dedicatedly adorned. The Jagannath chariots, resembling majestic temples on wheels, bear the names Nandighosa (Jagannath's chariot), Taladhwaja (Balabhadra's chariot), and Darpadalan (Subhadra's chariot). Each chariot is uniquely designed and represents different aspects of spiritual symbolism.

Rituals and Customs:

  • The commencement of Puri Rath Yatra is marked by elaborate rituals conducted within the sanctum sanctorum of the Jagannath Temple. The sacred ceremony of Snana Yatra, wherein the deities are bathed with 108 pitchers of aromatic water, precedes the grand procession. Following this, the deities are attired in new garments resembling warriors, signifying their departure for the Rath Yatra.

The Grand Procession:

  • As the sun rises on the auspicious day of Jagannath Rath Yatra, the streets of Puri come alive with an unparalleled fervor. Devotees, clad in vibrant attire, gather in multitudes to pull the Jagannath chariots with ropes. The rhythmic chants of "Jai Jagannath" reverberate in the air, creating an atmosphere charged with spiritual energy. The procession, known as Pahandi Vijay, witnesses the deities being carried from the temple to their respective chariots amidst much pomp and grandeur.

Symbolism and Significance:

  • Puri Rath Yatra transcends mere religious observance; it encapsulates profound symbolism and spiritual significance. The Jagannath chariots symbolize the divine journey of the soul, with Lord Jagannath leading the way as the supreme guide. The act of pulling the chariots is believed to purify one's soul and bestow divine blessings. Moreover, the inclusivity of Rath Yatra underscores the unity and harmony that define the fabric of Indian culture.


  • Puri Rath Yatra stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of devotion and tradition. It is not merely a festival but a sacred journey that ignites the spiritual fervor of millions. As the Jagannath chariots roll through the ancient streets of Puri, they carry with them the hopes, prayers, and aspirations of countless devotees, reaffirming the eternal bond between humanity and the divine. In the tapestry of Puri Rath Yatra, each thread woven with keywords like "Puri Rath Yatra," "Jagannath chariot," and "Rath Yatra," resonates with the timeless essence of faith and devotion.


Why is Jagannath Rath Yatra celebrated?

  • "Jagannath Rath Yatra is a yearly Hindu festival commemorating the pilgrimage of Lord Jagannath, his elder sibling Lord Balabhadra, and his younger sister Goddess Subhadra from their main temple in Puri, Odisha, to their aunt's temple in Gundicha, located approximately three kilometers away."

What is the story of Rath Yatra Jagannath?

  • During Ratha Yatra, Lord Jagannath embarks on a divine journey accompanied by his brother Balabhadra, sister Subhadra, and his divine weapon Sudarshana, leaving behind his consort, Goddess Mahalaxmi. The Goddess is said to express her displeasure at being separated from the deity during this time.

What happens during Rath Yatra?

  • During the festival, the statues of the deities are taken on a procession (yatra) through the streets atop elaborately decorated chariots (ratha). While the celebration is observed worldwide, the most renowned and grand festivities occur at the Jagannath Temple in Puri, India.

Who is the Mausi of Lord Jagannath?

  • The Jagannath Temple is also known as the temple of Lord Jagannath's Aunt, who is referred to as Mausi Maa or Ardhasini. Legend has it that she once drank half of the seawater to prevent Puri from flooding, earning her the name Ardhasini, which means 'half-sea.'

Why is Jagannath Temple mystery?

  • One of the greatest mysteries surrounding the Jagannath Temple is the phenomenon of the flag atop the temple fluttering in the opposite direction of the wind. This enigmatic occurrence has puzzled scientists and researchers for generations, leaving them wondering about its underlying mechanism.

What are the benefits of pulling Jagannath Rath?

  • It is believed that anyone who participates in pulling the ropes attached to the chariots of the deities during the Jagannath Rath Yatra, and helps others in doing so, or even touches the ropes or chariots, receives the merit of performing numerous penances. All the paraphernalia associated with the Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra is considered to merge with the deity himself.

What is the fact of Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra?

  • All three chariots proceed towards the Gundicha Temple, which was constructed in memory of the queen of Indradyumna.
  • The Jagannath Rath Yatra symbolizes the divine journey of Lord Shri Krishna from Dwaraka.
  • This grand event hosts the largest chariot procession globally, where the deities are carried in ornate chariots.

What are the three chariots of Puri?

  • All three chariots carrying the deities have their own names. Lord Jagannath's chariot is referred to as Nandighosh, while the chariots of Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra are called Taladhwaja and Darpadalana, respectively.

How long does Rath Yatra last?

  • During the nine-day-long festival, the three idols remain at the Gundicha Temple for some time before returning to the main temple. The first day of the festival is dedicated to catching a glimpse of the idols as they travel by chariots. The grand Rath Yatra commences after the three deities are established on the elaborately decorated chariots.

Why Puri temple has no shadow?

  • The temple is designed in a manner where the main spire, or "Shikhara," does not cast a shadow on the ground regardless of the sun's position. This architectural wonder has captivated visitors for centuries.

What happens every 12 years in Jagannath Temple?

  • "Nabakalebara" is a unique aspect of the Shree Jagannatha Temple tradition, occurring at intervals of 8, 11, 12, and 19 years. The term "Nabakalebara" translates to "new embodiment" in English. This ritual involves the total replacement of the five revered wooden idols worshipped at the temple.

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