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Rath yatra at Puri, Date and history of the Rath Yatra

This year ie in 2019 Ratha yatra at puri is celebrated on 4th July 2019

Rath Yatra at Puri is a festival celebrated by Hindus associated with Lord Jagannath held at Puri in the state of Odisha.

what is rath yatra

It is the oldest Ratha Yatra taking place in India and the world, whose description can be found in Brahma Purana, and Padma Purana, and Skanda Purana and Kapila Samhita.

 On Ashadha shukla paksha Dwitiya ,this annual festival is celebrated.

The festival commemorates jagannaths annual visit to Gundicha temple via mausi maa temple near balagandi chaka,puri

rath yatra at puri
puri rath yatra

In these celebrations of Ratha yatra, the deities of Jagannath, his elder brother Balabhadra and young sister Subhadra are taken out in a procession to Gudincha temple and remain there for nine days. They are also accompanied by Sudarshana chakra.

Then the deities of Ratha yatra to the main temple. The return journey of Puri Jagannath Ratha jathra is known as Bahuda jatra.

Three decorated chariots, resembling as the temple structures, are pulled through the streets of puri called Badadanda. This badadanda is about the annual journey of Lord Jagannath, lord balabhadra, and their sister Subhadra to their aunt’s temple, the gundicha temple which is situated at a distance of 2km far away from their temple. This is the only day when devotees are not allowed in the temple premises, such as nonhindus and foreigners, can get their glimpse of the deities.

During the festival, the devotees from all parts of the world will go to Puri with an earnest desire to help pull the Lord’s chariots with the help of other priests who are pulling the chariots with ropes. They consider this auspicious deed.

The rath yatra at puri

The huge processions accompanying the chariots play devotional songs with drums , tambuloriness,trumpets,etc

The ganga dynasty king Anantavarman chodaganga  constructed this temple in the 12th century CE,as suggested by the kendupatna copper plate inscription of his descendant narasimhadeva2

Anantavarman king is actually a shaivite,and became a vaishnavite sometime after he conquered the utkala region( in which the temple is located ) in 1112CE .A 1134  –  1135CE  inscription records his donation to the temple . Therefore, the temple construction is started after the 1112 CE.

According to a story in the temple chronicles, it was found by Anangabhima-deva  2: different chronicles variously mention the year of construction as 1196,1197,1205. This suggests that the temple was renovated during the reign of Anangabhima.

The temple complex was further developed during the reigns of the subsequent kings, including those of the Ganga dynasty and the Surya vanshi dynasty.

Invasions and desecrations of the temple

As per  the madala panji records tells  that the jagannath temple at puri has been invaded and plundered eighteen times.

jagannath puri rath yatra

In 1692, mughal emperor  Aurangzeb  ordered to close the temple until he wanted to reopen it otherwise it would be demolished, the local mughal officials who came to carry out the job was merely closed . it was re-opened only after Aurangzebs death in 1707.

 Acharyas and jagannath puri

rath yatra at puri
rath yatra at puri
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All of the renowned acharyas including Madhavacharya have been known to visit this kshetra. Govardhana matha has been established by Adi shankara here.there is also evidence that Gurunanak ,kabir,  tulasidas , ramanujacharya, and nimbarkacharya had visitedthis place.sri chaitanya mahaprabu of gaudiya vaishnavism stayed here for 24years ,establishing that the love of god can be spread by chanting the  Hare Krishna mantra .

Rath yatra at Puri

Srimad vallabacharya visited jagannath purl performed a 7-days recitation of srimad bhagvat.His sitting place is still famous as “ baithakji”. It confirms his visit to  purl

A famous incident took place when vallabhacharya visited. There was a discussions being held between the Brahmins and 4 questions were asked. Who is the highest of gods, what the highest scripture is and what the highest service is.

This discussion went on for many days with many schools of thought. Finally, Shri Vallabh said to ask Lord Jagannath to confirm Shri vallabhs answers. After some time, the doors were opened and 4 answers were written.

The son of devaki (Krishna) was the god of gods.

His  name is the highest of mantras

His song is the highest scripture

Puri rath yatra

Service to him is the highest service. The king was shocked and declared shri vallabh the winner of the discourse. pandits who had participated with shri vallabh became jealous  and wanted to test him.

Festivals

rath yatra at puri
rath yatra at puri

There are elaborate daily worship services. There are lot of festivals to celebrate in every year attended by millions of people. The most important festival is the Ratha yatra or the chariot festival in June.

IN this  festival,it  includes of three big chariots which are bearing the idols  of the lord jagannath,and the Balabhadra and subhadra  through the Bada danda meaning the Grand avenue of purl till  the Gundicha temple.

Many festivals like Dola yatra in spring and jhulan yatra in monsoon are celebrated by temple every year.  Damanaka utsava and pavitrotsava are celebrated as per panchanga . There are many special ceremonies in the month of  pausha and katika.

Chandan yatra:

In akshaya tritiya every year the chandan yatra festival marks the commencement of the chariots of the ratha yatra.

Snnana yatra:

On the purnima of the month of jyestha the Gods are ceremonially bathed and decorated every year on the occasion of snnana yatra.

Annavasara or anasara

In every year,  after the holy snana yatra  of idols of lord jagannath,balabhadra,subhadra,sudarshan on the jyestha purnima, go to a secret altar named Annavasara Ghar where they remain for the next dark fortnight.

Hence devotees are not allowed to view them. Instead of these devotees go to  nearby place Brahmagiri to see  their beloved lord in the form of four handed form Alarnath a form of Vishnu, Then people get the first glimpse of lord on the day before ratha yatra, which is called Navayouvana.

It is said that the gods fall in the fever after taking a huge bath and they are treated by the special servants named, Daitapatis for 15 days. During this period cooked food is not given to the deities.people from various places visit puri during Ratha Yatra festival to take blessings from Jagannath.

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