• Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

Puri today Celebrates : The Oldest and Largest Ratha Jatra in the World

The Ratha Yatra of Puri, also known as the Jagannath Rath Yatra, is considered the oldest and largest Hindu chariot festival celebrated annually in the world.

The festival takes place in the city of Puri, in the state of Odisha, India, and is associated with the deities Jagannath  his brother Balabhadra, and sister Subhadra.

During the festival, the three deities are drawn by a multitude of devotees in three massive, wooden chariots on the bada danda (the grand avenue) to the Gundicha Temple, where they reside for a week before returning to the Jagannath Temple in a return trip called the Bahuda Yatra.

The Ratha Yatra will be celebrated on July 7.

The Ratha Yatra has become a common sight in most major cities of the world since 1968 through the ISKCON Hare Krishna movement, with festivals happening annually in over 108 cities globally.

However, the Puri Ratha Yatra remains the oldest and largest, with a history dating back to ancient times as described in various Hindu Puranas (mythologies).

The festival is known for its massive chariots, with Jagannath’s chariot Nandighosa having 16 wheels, Balabhadra’s Taladhvaja having 14 wheels, and Subhadra’s Padmadhvaja having 12 wheels.

The chariots are constructed anew each year, with preparations beginning at least two to three months in advance.

The Ratha Yatra is a significant Hindu festival that attracts millions of devotees from across India and the world to witness the divine journey of the three deities and pull the chariots, considered a fortunate act.

The festival is celebrated with great pomp and show, with the chariots being the center of attraction due to their colors, designs, and amazing decorations.


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