RathYatra

Ratha Yatra is a festival that involves moving deities Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshana on a chariot (called a ratha or rotho).In Sanskrit, Ratha means “chariot”, and Yatra means “journey”; the festival usually involves an annual procession (journey) of a deity’s idols. Other names for the festival include ratha jatra or chariot festival.

Notable ratha yatras include the Ratha Yatra of Puri, the Dhamrai Ratha Yatra and the Ratha Yatra of Mahesh. The festival originated in Puri, Odisha. The English word juggernaut was originated from Jagannath that is related to the massive and unstoppable “ratha” carrying Jaggannath

Triads are usually worshiped in the sanctum of the temple at Puri, but once during the month of Asadha (Rainy Season of Odisha, usually falling in month of June or July), they are brought out onto the Bada Danda (main street of Puri) and travel (3 km) to the Shri Gundicha Temple, in huge chariots (ratha), allowing the public to have darśana (Holy view). This festival is known as Rath Yatra, meaning the journey (yatra) of the chariots (ratha). The Rathas are huge wheeled wooden structures, which are built anew every year and are pulled by the devotees. The chariot for Jagannath is approximately 45 feet high and 35 feet square and takes about 2 months to construct.The artists and painters of Puri decorate the cars and paint flower petals and other designs on the wheels, the wood-carved charioteer and horses, and the inverted lotuses on the wall behind the throne.The huge chariots of Jagannath pulled during Rath Yatra is the etymological origin of the English word Juggernaut.The Ratha-Yatra is also termed as the Shri Gundicha yatra.

The most significant ritual associated with the Ratha-Yatra is the chhera pahara.” During the festival, the Gajapati King wears the outfit of a sweeper and sweeps all around the deities and chariots in the Chera Pahara (sweeping with water) ritual. The Gajapati King cleanses the road before the chariots with a gold-handled broom and sprinkles sandalwood water and powder with utmost devotion. As per the custom, although the Gajapati King has been considered the most exalted person in the Kalingan kingdom, he still renders the menial service to Jagannath. This ritual signified that under the lordship of Jagannath, there is no distinction between the powerful sovereign Gajapati King and the most humble devotee

Chera pahara is held on two days, on the first day of the Ratha Yatra, when the deities are taken to garden house at Mausi Maa Temple and again on the last day of the festival, when the deities are ceremoniously brought back to the Shri Mandir.