Ratha Yatra: The World’s Largest Chariot Festival

Date:

The Ratha Yatra of Puri is a nine-day Hindu festival celebrated annually in the city of Puri, Odisha, India. It is considered the oldest and largest Hindu chariot festival in the world.

The festival begins with the construction of three massive wooden chariots for the deities Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra. The chariots are decorated with intricate carvings and colorful fabrics. On the day of the Ratha Yatra, the deities are placed in their respective chariots and pulled by a multitude of devotees along the Bada Danda, a grand avenue leading to the Gundicha Temple.

The Bada Danda is a 3-kilometer-long avenue that is lined with ancient temples and other religious monuments. On the day of the Ratha Yatra, the entire avenue is transformed into a sea of humanity as millions of devotees from all over the world gather to witness the spectacle.

The chariots are pulled by ropes and devotees sing and chant devotional songs as they go. The procession is accompanied by a lively band and traditional dancers. The atmosphere is electric and the air is filled with the sound of music and laughter.

On the way to the Gundicha Temple, the chariot of Jagannath stops near the crematorium of Bhakta Salabega, a Muslim devotee of Lord Jagannath. This is a symbolic gesture to show that Lord Jagannath is the Lord of all, irrespective of caste, creed, or religion.

After reaching the Gundicha Temple, the deities reside there for seven days. During this time, devotees come from all over the world to pay their respects. On the seventh day, the deities begin their return journey to the Jagannath Temple.

On the way back, the chariots stop near the Mausi Maa Temple, where the deities are offered Poda Pitha, a special type of pancake that is said to be Lord Jagannath’s favorite.

After reaching the Jagannath Temple, the deities are placed back in their respective shrines. The Ratha Yatra festival concludes with a grand ceremony.

The Ratha Yatra of Puri is a unique and awe-inspiring festival that is a testament to the rich culture and heritage of India. It is a time for people from all walks of life to come together and celebrate their faith.

History of Puri Rath Yatra or Rath Jatra

The Puri Rath Yatra, a grand chariot procession, is an annual Hindu festival held in Puri, Odisha, India. It is one of the most significant religious festivals in India, celebrated with great fervor and devotion. The festival commemorates the divine journey of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra, and their sister Subhadra from the Jagannath Temple to the Gundicha Temple, a distance of about 3 kilometers (1.9 miles).

The history of the Rath Yatra can be traced back to ancient times, with some scholars believing it to be a pre-Vedic tradition. The most popular legend associated with the festival is that it originated from the desire of Lord Jagannath’s sister, Subhadra, to visit Puri. Legend has it that Lord Jagannath, accompanied by Balabhadra, fulfilled her wish by embarking on a chariot journey from their heavenly abode to meet her.

Another legend suggests that the Rath Yatra is a reenactment of Lord Krishna’s journey from Mathura to Dwarka, where he was welcomed by his people. The chariots are said to represent the vehicles used by Krishna and his siblings during that journey.

Regardless of its origin, the Rath Yatra has been celebrated in Puri for centuries. It is a major tourist attraction, drawing millions of devotees from all over India and abroad. The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm, with devotees pulling the chariots, singing devotional songs, and showering the deities with flowers.

The Rath Yatra is a celebration of love, devotion, and unity. It is a reminder of the divine love between Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra, and the deep connection between the deities and their devotees. The festival also promotes social harmony, as people from all walks of life come together to participate in the festivities.

The Rath Yatra is a unique and beautiful tradition that has endured for centuries. It is a testament to the power of faith and the enduring spirit of Hinduism.

The Chariots

The three chariots of Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra are the centerpiece of the Ratha Yatra festival. They are newly constructed every year with wood from specified trees, such as phassi and dhausa. The logs are traditionally set afloat as rafts on the Mahanadi River and collected near Puri.

The chariots are decorated with intricate carvings and colorful fabrics. Each chariot has a unique design and color scheme. Jagannath’s chariot, Nandighosa, is the largest and most ornate of the three. It is 45 feet tall and has 18 wheels. Balabhadra’s chariot, Taladhwaja, is 44 feet tall and has 16 wheels. Subhadra’s chariot, Darpadalana, is 43 feet tall and has 14 wheels.

The chariots are lined up across the Bada Danda, the Grand Avenue, in front of the Jagannath Temple. On the day of the festival, the deities are placed in their respective chariots and pulled by a multitude of devotees along the Bada Danda to the Gundicha Temple.

Around each chariot are nine Parsva devatas, painted wooden images representing different deities. Each chariot also has a charioteer (Sarathi) and four horses. The charioteer is a wooden statue of the deity Aruna, the charioteer of the sun god Surya.

The chariots are an important part of the Ratha Yatra festival. They are a symbol of the divine journey that the deities take. The chariots are also a symbol of the unity and cooperation of the community. Millions of people come together from all over the world to pull the chariots, regardless of their caste, creed, or religion.

The Ratha Yatra chariots are a unique and awe-inspiring sight. They are a testament to the rich culture and heritage of India.

Chariot DetailsJagannathBalabhadraSubhadra ..
Name of ChariotNandighosha (ନନ୍ଦିଘୋଷ)Taladhwaja (ତାଳଧ୍ୱଜ)Darpadalana (ଦର୍ପଦଳନ) ..
Alternates name of ChariotGarudadhwaja, KapidhwajaLangaladhwajaDevadalana, Padmadhwaja ..
Image   .
Number of wheels161412 ..
Total Number of wooden pieces used832763593 ..
Height44′ 2″43′ 3″42′ 3″ ..
Length and breadth34’6″ x 34’6″33′ x 33′31’6″ x 31’6″ ..
Colours of the canopiesRed, YellowRed, Bluish greenRed, Black ..
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
GuardianGarudaVasudevaJayadurga..
CharioteerDarukaMataliArjuna..
Flag nameTrailokyamohiniUnnaniNadambika..
Flag emblem Palm Tree ..
Name of Horses1. Shankha1. Tibra1. Rochika..
2. Balahaka2. Ghora2. Mochika..
3. Shweta3. Dirghasharma3. Jita..
4. Haridashwa4. Swarnanava4. Aparajita..
Colour of HorsesWhiteBlackRed..
Name of Chariot RopeSankhachuda NaginiBasuki NagaSwarnachuda Nagini..
Accompanying deityMadanmohanRamakrishnaSudarshana..
Gatekeepers (Dvarapala)1. Jaya1. Nanda1. Ganga..
2. Vijaya2. Sunanda2. Jamuna..
Nine parshvadevata (Subsidiary deities)1. Panchamukhi Mahabir (Hanuman)1. Ganesha1. Chandi..
2. Harihara2. Kartikeya2. Chamunda..
3. Madhusudana (Vishnu)3. Sarvamangala3. Ugratara..
4. Giridhar (Krishna)4. Pralambari (Balarama)4. Banadurga (Durga)..
5. Pandu Narasingha5. Halayudha (Balarama)5. Shulidurga (Durga)..
6. Chitamani Krishna6. Mrityunjaya (Shiva)6. Varahi..
7. Narayana (Vishnu)7. Natamvara (Shiva)7. Shyamakali..
8. Chatra Bhanga Rabana (Rama)8. Mukteswar (Shiva)8. Mangala..
9. Rama seated on Hanuman9. Sheshadeva9. Vimala..
Reference from wikipedia

Chandana Yatra

The Chandana Yatra, or Sandalwood Festival, is a 42-day festival that marks the beginning of the construction of the chariots for the Ratha Yatra, or Chariot Festival. The festival is divided into two halves of 21 days each:

  • Bahar Chandana (Outer Chandana): The representative images of the presiding deities are taken out in colorful processions and given a ceremonial boat ride in the Narendra tank every day. These deities include Madan Mohan (Jagannath), Rama-Krishna, Lakshmi, Saraswati, and the Pancha Pandava (the presiding deities of the five main Shiva temples).
  • Bhitar Chandana (Inner Chandana): Various rituals are held inside the temple that are not open to the public.

The construction of the chariots starts on Akshaya Tritiya, the third day of the bright fortnight of Vaisakha, with ritual fire worship. This takes place in front of the palace of the King of Puri and opposite the main office of the Puri temple. Later, the deities have a ritual bath in a small temple in the middle of the tank, in stone tubs filled with water, sandalwood paste, scents, and flowers.

This sandalwood festival culminates in the Snana Yatra (Bathing Festival) which takes place on the full moon day of the month of Jyeshtha. The deities Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra are bathed with 108 pots of water and then remain in symbolic and ritual convalescence for about two weeks. They are barred from the view of the public. Only three special patta chitras (traditional Oriya paintings of natural colors on cloth stiffened with starch), known as Anasara Pattis, are strung on a bamboo screen hiding the deities from public view. During this period, the deities are given only roots, leaves, berries, and fruits to cure them of their indisposition. This ritual is a reminder of the strong tribal elements in the genesis and evolution of the Jagannatha cult.

The progeny of Lalita, daughter of the original tribal worshipper Biswabasu (chieftain of hunters) and the Brahmin priest Vidyapati, are known as daitapatis or daitas. They have the almost exclusive privilege of serving the deities during the convalescence and through the entire period of Ratha Jatra (Festival of Chariots).

The Chandana Yatra is a significant festival for the people of Odisha, and it marks the beginning of the Ratha Yatra preparations. It is a time for people to come together and celebrate their faith and culture.

Here is a more detailed explanation of the key events of the Chandana Yatra:

  • Bahar Chandana: The representative images of the deities are taken out in colorful processions every day for 21 days. The processions are accompanied by music and dancing, and people from all over the world come to witness them.
  • Construction of the chariots: The construction of the chariots for the Ratha Yatra begins on Akshaya Tritiya. The chariots are made of wood and are decorated with intricate carvings and colorful fabrics.
  • Snana Yatra: On the full moon day of the month of Jyeshtha, the deities are bathed with 108 pots of water. This ritual is known as the Snana Yatra, or Bathing Festival.
  • Ritual convalescence: After the Snana Yatra, the deities remain in symbolic and ritual convalescence for about two weeks. They are barred from the view of the public during this time.
  • Ratha Yatra: After the deities have recovered from their convalescence, the Ratha Yatra, or Chariot Festival, takes place. The deities are placed on their respective chariots and pulled through the streets of Puri by a multitude of devotees.

The Chandana Yatra is a unique and awe-inspiring festival that is a testament to the rich culture and heritage of India. It is a time for people from all walks of life to come together and celebrate their faith and community.

Activities related to Rath Yatra

Before the Rath Yatra:

  • Chhera Pahanra: The Gajapati King of Puri sweeps the floors of the Jagannath Temple and the chariots with a golden broom.
  • Snana Purnima: The deities of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra are taken to the Snana Mandap (bathing pavilion) for a ritual bathing ceremony.
  • Netrotsava: The eyes of the deities are opened after the Snana Purnima ceremony.
  • Construction of the chariots: The three chariots for the Rath Yatra are constructed by skilled artisans.
  • Preparation of food and other offerings for the deities: Large quantities of food and other offerings are prepared for the deities during the Rath Yatra.
  • Decoration of the Jagannath Temple and the city of Puri: The Jagannath Temple and the city of Puri are decorated with flowers, flags, and other festive decorations.
  • Security and logistical arrangements for the festival: Extensive security and logistical arrangements are made for the Rath Yatra, as it is one of the largest religious festivals in the world.
  • Cultural and educational events related to the festival: A variety of cultural and educational events are held in the lead-up to and during the Rath Yatra.

During the Rath Yatra:

Pahandi: The Pahandi procession is a ceremonial procession in which the deities of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra are taken from the Jagannath Temple to their respective chariots. The Pahandi is a very important ritual in the Rath Yatra festival, and it is a time for devotees to show their devotion to the deities.

The Pahandi procession begins with the deities being taken from their chambers in the Jagannath Temple to a temporary shrine called the Adapa Mandap. The deities are then dressed in their finest clothes and jewelry. Once the deities are ready, they are taken to their chariots in a procession led by the Gajapati King of Puri.

The Pahandi procession is very slow and deliberate. The deities are carried on their shoulders by a team of servitors called Daitapatis. The Daitapatis are dressed in traditional attire and they carry the deities with great care and reverence.

The Pahandi procession is accompanied by music, chanting, and dancing. Devotees line the streets to watch the procession and to offer their prayers to the deities. The Pahandi procession is a very emotional time for devotees, and it is a time for them to come together and to celebrate their shared faith.

The Pahandi procession is a vital part of the Rath Yatra festival, and it is a time for devotees to show their devotion to the deities. It is also a time for people from all over the world to come together and to experience the rich culture and heritage of Odisha.

Rath Yatra: The Rath Yatra is a Hindu festival in which the deities of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra are taken from the Jagannath Temple in Puri, Odisha, to the Gundicha Temple, which is located about 3 kilometers away. The deities are carried on three massive wooden chariots, which are pulled through the streets of Puri by a massive crowd of devotees.

Gundicha Temple: The chariots travel to the Gundicha Temple, where the deities stay for nine days.

Mausi Maa Temple visit: On the seventh day of the Rath Yatra, the chariots stop at the Mausi Maa Temple, where the deities are offered Poda Pitha.

Bahuda Yatra: On the ninth day of the Rath Yatra, the chariots return to the Jagannath Temple in a procession known as Bahuda Yatra.

Suna Besha: Suna Besha is a special ritual in the Rath Yatra festival, in which the deities of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra are adorned with gold ornaments. The ritual takes place on the day the deities return to the Jagannath Temple after their nine-day stay at the Gundicha Temple.

Suna Besha is a very popular event, and millions of devotees from all over the world come to Puri to witness it. The deities are adorned with gold jewelry weighing nearly 208 kilograms. The jewelry includes necklaces, earrings, bracelets, crowns, and other ornaments.

The Suna Besha ritual is a time for devotees to show their devotion to the deities and to celebrate their faith. It is also a time for people to experience the rich culture and heritage of Odisha.

Here is a more detailed explanation of the Suna Besha ritual:

  1. The deities are taken from their chariots to the Jagannath Temple.
  2. The deities are bathed and dressed in new clothes.
  3. The deities are then adorned with gold jewelry.
  4. The deities are placed on their chariots again.
  5. The chariots are pulled around the Jagannath Temple complex by a massive crowd of devotees.
  6. The procession is accompanied by music, chanting, and dancing.
  7. The Suna Besha ritual lasts for several hours.

The Suna Besha ritual is a very special event for Hindus, and it is a time for them to show their devotion to Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra. It is also a time for people from all over the world to come together and to experience the rich culture and heritage of Odisha.

Here are some of the reasons why the Suna Besha ritual is so significant:

  • It is a way for devotees to show their devotion to the deities.
  • It is a time for people to come together and to celebrate their faith.
  • It is a way to experience the rich culture and heritage of Odisha.
  • It is a very popular event, and millions of people from all over the world come to Puri to witness it.

The Suna Besha ritual is a very special event, and it is a time for people from all walks of life to come together and to celebrate their shared faith and culture.

Other activities that take place during the Rath Yatra include:

  • Devotee rituals and festivities: Devotees from all over the world come to Puri to participate in the Rath Yatra and to offer their prayers to Lord Jagannath. Devotees sing, dance, and offer prayers to the deities. They also distribute food and other offerings to other devotees.
  • Cultural performances: A variety of cultural performances, such as music, dance, and theater, are held during the Rath Yatra.
  • Food and souvenir stalls: A large number of food and souvenir stalls are set up along the route of the Rath Yatra procession. Devotees can purchase food, souvenirs, and other items from these stalls.

The Rath Yatra is a complex and multifaceted festival, and there are many different activities that take place during this special time of year. The activities listed above are just a few examples of the many things that happen during the Rath Yatra.

International Ratha Yatras

The Ratha Yatra festival is a Hindu festival that celebrates the journey of the deities of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra from the Jagannath Temple in Puri, Odisha, to the Gundicha Temple, which is located about 3 kilometers away. The deities are carried on three massive wooden chariots, which are pulled through the streets of Puri by a massive crowd of devotees.

The Ratha Yatra festival has become a common sight in most major cities of the world since 1968 through the ISKCON Hare Krishna movement. A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada popularised the festival globally, which now happens on an annual basis in over 108 cities, including:

  • Moscow
  • New York
  • Houston
  • Atlanta
  • London
  • Rome
  • Zürich
  • Kolkata
  • Mumbai
  • Karachi
  • Berlin
  • Heidelberg
  • Cologne
  • Florence
  • Wrocław
  • Sydney
  • Perth
  • Kampala
  • Nairobi
  • Mombasa
  • Kisumu
  • Mexico City
  • Dublin
  • Belfast
  • Manchester
  • Birmingham
  • Alchevsk
  • Buenos Aires
  • Madrid
  • Stockholm
  • Bath
  • Budapest
  • Auckland
  • Melbourne
  • Montreal
  • Paris
  • Copenhagen
  • Amsterdam
  • Los Angeles
  • Toronto
  • Vancouver
  • Santiago
  • Tallinn
  • Lima
  • Antwerp
  • Sofia
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Dubai
  • Oslo
  • Zhongshan
  • Myitkyina
  • Bangkok
  • Port of Spain
  • Manama
  • Dhamrai, Bangladesh

The Ratha Yatra festival is a very important festival for Hindus all over the world, and it is a time for people to come together and to celebrate their faith. It is also a time for people to experience the rich culture and heritage of Odisha.

International Ratha Yatras and Hindu Diaspora

The spread of the Ratha Yatra festival to different parts of the world is a reflection of the Hindu diaspora. The Hindu diaspora refers to people of Indian origin who live outside of India. The Hindu diaspora is a very diverse group, and it includes people from all walks of life.

The Ratha Yatra festival is a way for Hindus in the diaspora to connect with their culture and heritage. It is also a way for them to share their faith with others. The Ratha Yatra festival is a very popular event in many parts of the world, and it attracts people from all walks of life.

Ratha Yatra 2001 to 2050: Complete List of Dates

YearStarting DateEnding DateHindi Calendar DayWeekday
Rath Yatra 2001July 19July 27Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaThursday
Rath Yatra 2002July 9July 17Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaTuesday
Rath Yatra 2003June 28July 6Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaSaturday
Rath Yatra 2004July 17July 25Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaSaturday
Rath Yatra 2005July 6July 14Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaWednesday
Rath Yatra 2006June 25July 3Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaSunday
Rath Yatra 2007July 14July 22Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaSaturday
Rath Yatra 2008July 4July 12Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaFriday
Rath Yatra 2009June 23July 1Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaTuesday
Rath Yatra 2010July 12July 20Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaMonday
Rath Yatra 2011July 1July 9Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaFriday
Rath Yatra 2012June 20June 28Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaWednesday
Rath Yatra 2013July 9July 17Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaTuesday
Rath Yatra 2014June 28July 6Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaSaturday
Rath Yatra 2015July 17July 25Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaFriday
Rath Yatra 2016July 6July 14Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaWednesday
Rath Yatra 2017June 25July 3Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaSunday
Rath Yatra 2018July 14July 22Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaSaturday
Rath Yatra 2019July 4July 12Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaThursday
Rath Yatra 2020June 23July 1Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaTuesday
Rath Yatra 2021July 12July 20Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaMonday
Rath Yatra 2022July 1July 9Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaFriday
Rath Yatra 2023June 20June 28Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaTuesday
Rath Yatra 2024July 7July 15Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaSunday
Rath Yatra 2025June 27July 5Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaFriday
Rath Yatra 2026July 16July 24Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaThursday
Rath Yatra 2027July 5July 13Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaMonday
Rath Yatra 2028June 23July 1Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaSaturday
Rath Yatra 2029July 13July 21Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaFriday
Rath Yatra 2030July 2July 10Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaWednesday
Rath Yatra 2031June 22June 30Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaMonday
Rath Yatra 2032July 9July 17Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaSaturday
Rath Yatra 2033June 28July 6Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaFriday
Rath Yatra 2034July 17July 25Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaThursday
Rath Yatra 2035July 6July 14Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaMonday
Rath Yatra 2036June 25July 3Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaSunday
Rath Yatra 2037July 14July 22Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaSaturday
Rath Yatra 2038July 4July 12Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaFriday
Rath Yatra 2039June 23July 1Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaWednesday
Rath Yatra 2040July 12July 20Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaMonday
Rath Yatra 2041July 1July 9Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaFriday
Rath Yatra 2042June 20June 28Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaWednesday
Rath Yatra 2043July 7July 15Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaMonday
Rath Yatra 2044June 27July 5Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaSaturday
Rath Yatra 2045July 16July 24Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaFriday
Rath Yatra 2046July 5July 13Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaThursday
Rath Yatra 2047June 23July 1Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaTuesday
Rath Yatra 2048July 13July 21Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaMonday
Rath Yatra 2049July 2July 10Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaSaturday
Rath Yatra 2050June 22June 30Ashadha Shukla DvitiyaFriday

Service offerings on Ratha Yatra:

  • Suara: Suara are the singers and musicians who perform on the Ratha during the procession. They sing devotional songs and hymns in praise of Lord Jagannath.
  • Mahasuara: Mahasuara are the chief singers on the Ratha. They are responsible for leading the other singers and ensuring that the music is perfect.
  • Dahuka: Dahuka is the person who sings the Ratha dahuka boli, which are poetic recitations that contain bawdy songs. The Dahuka boli is believed to be necessary for the Ratha to move.
  • Daita pati: Daita pati are the priests who perform the rituals associated with the Ratha Yatra. They are responsible for ensuring that the festival is conducted in a proper and traditional manner.
  • Puspalaka: Puspalaka are the garland makers who decorate the Ratha with flowers. They also make garlands for the deities and the devotees.
  • Banati Players: Banati players are the performers who perform the Banati dance. The Banati dance is an age-old art form that involves spinning balls of fire on ropes. The Banati dance is performed to appease Lord Jagannath and to add color to the procession.

In addition to these service offerings, there are also many other people who contribute to the Ratha Yatra in various ways. For example, there are volunteers who help to set up the Ratha and to decorate it. There are also volunteers who help to distribute food and water to the devotees.

The Ratha Yatra is a huge undertaking, and it would not be possible without the contributions of all of the people who offer their services.

Hera Panchami

Hera Panchami is a ritual observed on the fifth day of the Rath Yatra festival in the Jagannath Temple of Puri, Odisha. It is a ritual dedicated to the goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Jagannath.

According to legend, Lord Jagannath leaves behind his wife Lakshmi when he goes out on a divine outing with his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra during the Rath Yatra festival. Lakshmi is angry and upset that Jagannath has left her behind, so she goes to the Gundicha Temple, where Jagannath is staying, to confront him.

When Lakshmi arrives at the Gundicha Temple, the sevaks (priests) close the door in her face. Lakshmi is furious, so she orders one of her attendants to damage a part of Jagannath’s chariot. Then she hides behind a tamarind tree outside the temple.

After some time, Lakshmi escapes to her home temple in secrecy. Jagannath eventually realizes that he has made a mistake in leaving Lakshmi behind, so he sends his messengers to ask her to come back. Lakshmi agrees to come back, but only on the condition that Jagannath gives her a garland of consent. Jagannath agrees, and the two are reunited.

The Hera Panchami ritual is a symbolic reenactment of this story. On the fifth day of the Rath Yatra festival, a golden idol of Lakshmi is carried in a palanquin to the Gundicha Temple. The sevaks close the door of the temple in front of the idol, and the idol is then taken back to the main temple.

The Hera Panchami ritual is a popular event, and lakhs of devotees from all over India come to Puri to witness it. It is a unique and colorful ritual that celebrates the divine love between Lord Jagannath and Goddess Lakshmi.

How to reach the Rath Yatra or Jagannath Temple: A complete guide

If you are planning to visit the Rath Yatra or Jagannath Temple, here is a complete guide on how to reach there by air, train, or road:

By air

The nearest airport to Puri is Biju Patnaik International Airport (BBI) in Bhubaneswar, which is about 60 kilometers away. There are regular flights to Bhubaneswar from major cities in India and abroad. Once you arrive at Bhubaneswar airport, you can take a taxi or bus to Puri.

By train

Puri is a major railway junction, and there are direct trains to Puri from major cities in India, including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai. The train ride from Bhubaneswar to Puri takes about 2 hours.

By road

Puri is well-connected to other cities in Odisha and India by road. There are regular buses to Puri from Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, and other major cities. The bus ride from Bhubaneswar to Puri takes about 2 hours.

Tips

Here are some additional tips for reaching the Rath Yatra or Jagannath Temple:

  • If you are traveling during the peak season of June-July, it is advisable to book your flights, train tickets, and hotel accommodation in advance.
  • The best time to visit the Jagannath Temple is early in the morning, when there are fewer crowds.
  • If you are planning to visit during the Rath Yatra festival, be prepared for large crowds and traffic congestion.
  • Puri is a relatively small town, so it is easy to get around on foot or by bicycle. However, there are also rickshaws and taxis available.

I hope this information is helpful. Have a great trip!

References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratha_Yatra_(Puri)