Jagannath Rath Yatra 2023 Rituals and Story

  • 2023-06-13
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Jagannath Rath Yatra- The grandeur of Hindu religion and faith!

The Indian state of Odisha has all geared up to carry out the most popular Jagannath Rath Yatra in Puri in the year 2023. Traditionally the Rath Yatra festival is celebrated every year in the state. The world-famous divine procession will take place on the Dwitiya tithi of Shukla Paksha of Ashadha month as per the Hindu Panchang. Followed by millions of devotees, Jagannath Yatra is one of its kinds to showcase the strength of Hindu devotion and faith in God. Countless devotees arrive to participate in the Rath Yatra processions to seek divine blessings. The grand procession called Jagannath Yatra is dedicated to Lord Jagannath where He is accompanied by his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra. All three deities ride on marvelously decorated chariots to give blissful glimpses to their devotees.

Jagannath Yatra 2023 - Important dates

In the year 2023, the second tithi or day of Ashadh Shukla starts at 11:25 am. on June 19 and ends on June 20 at 01:07 pm. Thus, the Jagannath Yatra will start on Friday, June 20.

Jagannath Rath Yatra 2023- Significance and importance

The word Jagannath is a combination of two words “Jaga,” which means the universe, and “Natha,” which suggests Jagannath as the Lord of the universe. Lord Jagannath is one of the incarnations or avatars of Lord Vishnu. Every year, the Rath Yatra is commemorated by millions of devotees. Idols are carried out on three chariots and then pulled by the devotees through the streets of Puri towards the Gundicha temple a few kilometers away. People believe that pulling the chariots of their Lords during the procession is a way toward breaking the karmic cycle to attain salvation. They believe that through participation in the procession, they get free from the bad deeds or sins.

The streets of Puri are thronged with devotees who come all over the world to seek the blessings of Lord Jagannath. The pious atmosphere at the time of Rath Yatra 2023 leaves everyone spellbound. Devotees sing bhajans, chant mantras, and beat drums to turn the surroundings divine. The yatra is also known by the names Gundicha Yatra, Navadina Yatra and Dasavatara.

The Rath Yatra or Jatra is not associated with any particular Hindu religion sect but is equally revered in all sects like Vaishnavism, Shaktism, Saivism, Buddhism, and Jainism.


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Astounding facts about Jagannath Yatra

  1. It is said that Kansa, the maternal uncle of Lord Krishna and Balram, invited them to Mathura to kill them. Kansa sent Akrur on a chariot to Gokul. Lord Krishna and Lord Balram left for the city of Mathura on this chariot. The devotees celebrate this day as a departure of Lords in the form of Rath Yatra.
  2. Jagannath Rath Yatra is an age-old procession that has been carried for more than five thousand years. The most fascinating fact is that it is still celebrated with the same Hindu Rituals as followed at the time of the commencement.
  3. To tell about its spiritual significance- The procession talks about the Ratha as the Human body and sarathi as God, who takes the bodily chariot towards the journey to bhavasagara. The wheels signify endurance and the horses depict self-discipline, persistence, tolerance and control over inner state of mind.
  4. During the yatra, deities come out of the temple to visit Gudicha Temple which is dedicated to Lord’s Aunt.
  5. The chariots used in procession are built every year. The process of constructing the chariots begins on the Akshaya Tritiya day itself. And the work for the collection of wood starts from Basant Panchmi. The wood is collected from a special forest, Dashpalla.
  6. The chariots for the Lord are built by the carpenters of Shrimandir only and they are called Bhoi Sevayats.
  7. The chariots are painted in bright colors with tops depicting red, black, yellow, or green-colored canopies. Yellow and red are used for Lord Jagannath, red and green for Lord Balaram and red and black are used for Devi Subhadra. Each of the three chariots has specific details to distinguish one from the other.
  8. The chariot of Lord Jagannath is called “Chakradhwaja” or “Nandhighosha” to denote blissful sound. The specifications consist of height and weight of 45 feet and 65 tons. The chariot has 16 wheels. An image of Garuda is placed on its crest with four white wooden horses at the front.
  9. The ratha of Lord Balaram and Goddess Subhadra are called Taladhwaja and Padmadhwaja respectively.
  10. The devotees pull the chariots to the Gundicha temple on the grand procession day. The return journey of the Lords is called Bahuda Yatra and also has religious significance. The deities come back to the Puri temple on the Ekadashi Tithi which again has religious values attached to it. Decorated in new costumes, the new form of the idols is called ‘Suna Vesa’.

The rituals attached with Jagannath Rath Yatra

  1. Lords are taken from Jagannath Temple to the Gundicha temple. The 3 idols are placed in decorative chariots, accompanied by millions of devotees chanting and blowing conches.
  2. Before commencing the Rath Yatra, the idols are given a bath with 108 buckets of water which is referred to as Snana Purnima.
  3. From the snan or divine bath till the day of procession, the idols are placed in isolation as it is believed that they got sick after the bath. This religious event is called Ansara.
  4. On the day of procession, a holy ritual called Chhera Pahara is performed by the king or royal successor of Odisha.
  5. During Chehra Pahara ritual, the royal representative carries deities out of the temple and places them on the chariot.
  6. The king sweeps the chariot with a broom having a gold-crafted back. The chariot is decorated with flowers, the ground is swept and sandalwood is sprinkled on it by the king.
  7. This ritual talks about equal status of everyone in the Lord’s eyes.
  8. The idols are then placed in the Gundicha Temple for nine days. Later, they return back to their home in Puri.
  9. The deities are made to wait outside the gate of Jagannath temple till next morning.
  10. The next day, the Lords are given a complete new looking in fascinating attires and apparels.
  11. Then, the deities are placed back to the sanctum sanctorum, ending the Jagannath Rath Yatra in Puri.


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Jagannath Rath Yatra 2023- Astrological viewpoint

  1. Lord Vishnu signifies the most benevolent planet- Jupiter in astrology. Thus, through seeking the blessings of Lord Vishnu, one seeks the favor of Jupiter to attract wealth, health and prosperity in life. The Festivals is carried during the Shukla paksha when the planet Moon is also in its benevolence state. Jupiter and Moon are friends in Astrology; thus, the devotees may seek blessings of both these benefic planets known to bring wisdom and wealth in life.
  2. One may chant Lord Vishnu’s name or Lord Krishna’s name to seek the divine blessings that day.
  3. The Moon and Jupiter both will remain in their own signs, which further add auspiciousness to this religious event. One should definitely worship Lord Krishna this day as he represents both the planets in specific forms.
  4. Wearing 19 Mukhi rudraksha or 7 Mukhi Rudraksha should be worn to get divine blessings as they both represent Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi, respectively.

Not just the Moon and Jupiter, but Saturn, Mars, and Venus will also be there in their own houses. What a spectacular day when five planets will bestow their divine blessings with their strong positions in the sky!

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