The Ratha Yatra of Puri, Odisha, is India’s largest chariot festival, where thousands of pilgrims use to pull the Ratha. The festival holds great spiritual values. It is believed that anyone who participates in Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra would be blessed with pleasure and riches.
The Jagannath Puri Yatra 2022 is scheduled to begin on July 01 this year with great enthusiasm. It is expected that 12 to 15 lakh devotees will come to the holy city of Puri from all over India to celebrate the mega event. The construction of the chariot started on May 03, the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya.
Mass gatherings at rath yatra were not allowed in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak. But this time, the controlled covid situation has ignited the hope of celebration with general restrictions. However, the officials keep both plans ready for this year with or without mass gatherings. Mass gathering at Rath Yatra will be allowed if the covid situation stays in control until the occasion.
Jagannath Rath Yatra History, Procession and Cultural Importance
Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra is elegant in more than one way. Hindu devotees have carried it out for a very long time. This Rath Yatra has become a symbol of identity for Puri and Odisha state. Let’s dive deep into this procession and understand why and how Rath Yatra is organised and celebrated.
History of Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra
The Jagannath Rath Yatra festival is dedicated to Lord Jagannath (Lord Krishna), his sister Goddess Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra or Balaram, his elder brother. Rath Yatra is one of India’s largest festivals, where millions of devotees arrive and take part in the Rath Yatra processions and seek Lord Jagannath’s blessings.
Jagannath Rath Yatra is organised in Odisha, in Puri, on the 2nd day of Ashada Shukla. It’s believed Lord Jagannath wants to visit his birthplace every year. The journey passes through different parts of the city and creates a mesmerising scene.
Why Do We Celebrate Jagannath Rath Yatra?
Different rath yatra stories are popular among Hindu devotees. One of the most famous and believed stories is that Lord Krishna and Balram’s maternal uncle Kansa invited the brothers to murder them at Mathura. So Kansa sent Akrur out to Gokul with a chariot. Lord Krishna and Balram were sitting on the chariot and heading for Mathura. So all the Krishna devotees celebrate Rath Yatra on this day of departure of Lord Krishna.
Another famous story among many devotees is that the Rath Yatra festival is associated with Lord Krishna, Balaram, and Subhadra in Dwarka. Once upon a time, the eight wives of Lord Krishna decided to listen to some holy tales about Krishna and Gopi from Mother Rohini. But she did not want to narrate the story.
After frequent requests from Lord Krishna’s wives, his mother agreed to tell the story, but she wanted Subhadra to be guarding the door so that no one but only those 8 would listen. While Rohini’s mother narrates the stories, Subhadra becomes very enchanted. It captivated her so much that she didn’t notice Lord Krishna and Balram were at the door. She stood between those two, holding her hands apart as a way to stop them.
Saint Narad came to their place then, and together he saw the three siblings. He chanted a prayer and asked for their blessings. So it is said that Lord Krishna, Subhadra and Balaram resided in the temple of Puri for eternity, and they shower blessings on devotees.
Interesting Facts About Lord Jagannath Yatra
Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra is the biggest chariot festival for all Hindus and Indians. There are so many things that make it unique and lovely. Let’s see some interesting facts about this grand procession.
- Every year three separate chariots are made out of Neem tree for Lord Jagannath (ruler of the world), his elder brother Balbhadra (Balaram) and his sister Subhadra. No other wood can be used to make these grand chariots. It is one of the most interesting facts about the Puri Jagannath chariot.
- The highest chariot is made for Lord Jagannath with a height of 44 feet. His chariot is called Garudadhwaja or Kapiladhwaja. It has a total of 16 wheels and is decorated primarily in red and yellow colour. The height of Balaram’s chariot (Known as Taladhwaja or Langaladhwaja) is 43 feet, and it has 14 wheels. It is primarily decorated in red and bluish-green colours. Subhadra’s chariot, known as Darpadalana or Padmadhwaja, is 42 feet tall and has 12 wheels. It is decorated primarily in red and black.
- The construction of the chariot starts on Akshaya Tritiya, which is also called the start of the 42-day Chandan Yatra of Jagannath Temple.
- Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra is an old-age ritual since it has been mentioned in ancient scriptures like Brahma Purana, Padma Purana, Skanda Purana and Kapila Samhita.
- Devotees call this ritual of bringing the idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra out of the temple and installing them in their respective chariots as ‘Pahandi ‘. Before the Rath Yatra starts, the idols are bathed with 109 buckets of water known as ‘Snana Purnima ‘.
- ‘Chera Pahara ‘is a ritual involved in this procession in which the King cleans the road with a golden-handled broom and water scented with sandalwood paste.
- Tens of thousands of devotees participate in this huge Rath Yatra, which begins from the iconic puri temple.
- A temple called ‘Gundicha Temple’ was built in the memory of the famous Queen of King Indradyumna, who built the iconic Puri Temple. The famous Rath Yatra starts from the Jagannath temple in Puri and ends at Gundicha temple.
- Goddess Laxmi, the wife of Lord Jagannath, comes to visit her husband in Gundicha temple on the 4th day of the procession.
- All the deities start their return journey on the 10th day of Ashada Shukla Paksha. This ritual is called ‘Bahuda ‘or ‘Dakshinabimukhi ‘. Before returning to their places, they halt at Goddess Ardhashini’s temple to pay obeisance to her.
- There are two more concluding rituals called Suna Besha and Adhara Pana. Suna Besha is conducted on the 10th day when the Gods are decorated with gold ornaments. Adhara Pana is performed on the 11th and final day of the yatra when sweets are offered to the gods.
Cultural and Religious Importance of Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra
Jagannath Rath Yatra symbolises the journey from Dwaraka, a kingdom he ruled to Braj Bhoomi (modern-day Mathura and Vrindavan), where Shri Krishna grew up. It is also expected to be a recreation of the departure of Lord Krishna from Gokul when he was invited to Mathura by Kansa.
Every Lord Krishna devotee is interested in the Rath Yatra irrespective of who they are. Pulling the cart symbolises clearing the mind and surrendering to the Supreme.
Each year, millions of Hindu pilgrims flock to the Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra, one of Hinduism’s most important annual events, to witness the grand procession of the Lord of the Universe.
The Lord Jagannath is regarded as a manifestation of Lord Vishnu. The famous Jagannath Temple in Puri, Odisha, is considered one of the ‘Char Dham’ pilgrimages and is worshipped by all Hindus. The temple is also called Puri Jagannath Dham. During the Chariot festival, entry to the temple is only permitted for Hindus during the rest of the day. Puri Jagannath temple is probably visited once in a lifetime by every Hindu.
Due to the ISKCON Hare Krishna campaign, the Ratha Yatra Festival has been a famous sight in most of the world’s major cities Since 1968. Now, this chariot festival is celebrated in different cities, including Moscow, New York, London, Rome, Zürich, Kolkata, Mumbai, Karachi, Berlin, Sydney, Nairobi, Mexico City, Dublin, Manchester, Birmingham, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Stockholm, Budapest, Auckland, Toronto, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, etc.
Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra Special Trains 2022
- Train Number 02837 & 02838 Shalimar – Puri – Shalimar Rath Yatra Special Express will depart from Shalimar at 12:45 hrs on 29 June 2022 and reach Puri at 22:30 hrs on the same day. Whereas in return, the train will depart from Puri at 05:30 hrs on June 30 2022.
- Train No. 02827 & 02828 Shalimar-Puri-Shalimar Rath Yatra Special Express will leave Shalimar at 21:40 hrs on 29 June and reach Puri at 07 hrs on 30 June. On the other hand, this train will leave Puri at 23:05 on June 30 for the return journey.
- Train Number 08907 & 08908 Visakhapatnam-Puri-Visakhapatnam Rath Special Train will depart Visakhapatnam at 14:30 hrs on June 30 2022, and reach Puri on July 01 at 01:15 hrs. Apart from this, in return, it will leave Puri at 23:15 on July 01.
- Train No. 08911 & 08912 Junagadh Road-Puri-Junagadh Road Rath Yatra Special Express via Sambalpur and Talcher Road will depart Junagadh Road at 11:00 hrs on June 30 2022. Whereas in return, this train will leave Puri on July 02 2022, at 00:15 hrs.
- Train No. 08418 & 08417 Gunupur-Puri-Gunupur Rath Yatra Special Express will depart on 30 June 2022 at 23:30 hrs and return from Puri at 01:45 hrs on 02 July.
- Train No. 08909 & 08910 Jagdalpur-Puri-Jagdalpur Rath Yatra Special via Rayagada & Vizianagaram Special train will depart Jagdalpur at 18:30 hrs on June 30, 2022, and in return, the train will depart from Puri at 20:05 hrs on July 01.
- Train No. 02891 & 02810 Bhubaneswar-Puri-Bhubaneswar Rath Yatra Special train will depart from Bhubaneswar at 10:05 hrs and will depart from Puri at 15:10 hrs. This train will run between July 1 and 11.
- Train No. 08931 & 08932 Sambalpur-Puri-Sambalpur Rath Yatra Special via Naraj Marthapur & Talcher Road will depart Sambalpur at 21:30 hrs on June 30, 2022, and in return, will depart Puri at 20:25 hrs on July 01.
IRCTC runs rath yatra special trains to help passengers reach Puri easily, and they do not face any inconvenience for joining Jagannath Yatra.
What Is the Date of the Jagannath Rath Yatra?
In 2022, Jagannath Puri Yatra is on July 01.
What Makes Jagannath Rath Yatra Special?
Today, Rath yatra happens in many parts of India and the world. But Puri Rath Yatra holds significant religious value. It symbolises brotherhood, unity and peace. People together pull the Ratha and celebrate the auspicious event. Jagannath temple is considered one of the four Dham according to Hinduism beliefs and a must-go place for every Hindu.
How to Visit Jagannath Rath Yatra in 2022?
You can book your train ticket in advance if you are also planning to visit Puri to attend the mega Rath Yatra festival. Indian Railways allows you to book a ticket on a train 120 days before the journey date so that you don’t face problems with seat availability at the last moment.
After booking your ticket, you can check the PNR status of your ticket for ticket confirmation updates.
RailMitra is a one-stop solution app and website for smooth rail journeys. With its various tools, you can check trains between your nearby station and Puri station, train schedule, order regional food in train to delight your Puri Rath Yatra tour and many more.
RailMitra wishes you a Happy Rath Yatra and a delightful journey to Puri.