Every festival brings happiness and joy. Today I am writing about such a festival where you can find devotion, passion, happiness, and joy.
This is all about the Chariot festival in east India. This festival is famous as Rathayatra or Rathajatra in Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal. It attracts over a million Hindu devotees to participate in the rituals.
The festival all about:
This is all about a Chariot journey of Lord Jagannath (the avatar of Vishnu), Balabhadra (brother of Lord Jagannath) and Subhadra (sister of Lord Jagannath) with a large public procession.
Devotees decorate the wooden chariot with flowers a day prior to the journey. On the day of the journey, they start the preparation since morning and the yatra or journey takes place in the afternoon.
The Chariot of God starts from local Sri Krishna temple and travels the city or village in the afternoon.
According to mythology, Jagannath wanted to spend a week at his birthplace Gundicha Ghar ( a place in Puri know as Lord Jagannath’s aunt Gundicha’s home and his birthplace). And every year he did so along with his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra.
Keeping the same in mind, every year the Rathayatra is being performed in Puri, Orissa. The yatra or journey starts from the Jagannath temple and ends in Gundicha temple. Devotees and pandits keep the idols of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra in a nicely decorated Chariot and taken through the street of Puri. They dismounted the idols from the chariot and keep them inside the Gundicha temple for a week. After 7 days, those idols again return back on the chariot to the Jagannath temple.
Timing of Chariot Festival:
This festival takes place in the month of June or July in India (mostly in east India) during the Shukla Paksha. Every year Hindu pilgrims and international tourists enjoy this festival with a great passion.
Fair during Rathayatra:
This is really an attraction of this festival as you can see some different kind of unique things in this fair. Every year local people bring their amazing creations to sell in this fair of Rathayatra. The fair takes place near or in the temple area ( different from city to city) and million people gather to buy those unique things from it.
Terracotta items are very famous in this fair and with this, Jalebi and Lotka (langsat fruit) give a traditional and antique touch.
Toy shops and various kind of food stalls are also a strong attraction for kids and foodies.
Nowadays, Hindus in abroad also celebrate this chariot festival. Dublin to Dubai, Sydney to New York, everywhere Hindu diaspora is still maintaining their tradition. But, the image of this festival in India is as unique as it is. If you never been in India during this festival then make a trip to put yourself in the flow of this amazing Rathayatra at least once in a lifetime.