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Rath Yatra 2017: The Grand Chariot Festival will be observed on June 25 across India

The Rath Yatra at Puri is a huge occasion in the whole composition that is seen by various travelers

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June 22, 2017: One of the four divine abode where legends still live on, the city of Puri in Eastern India arranges once in every year for the glorious voyage of the God in Chariot. The grand celebration of Rath Yatra will initiate on the June 25, Sunday while the return journey or Bahuda Jatra’ will fall on July 3rd, Monday.

Situated across the four corners of the India, Puri alongside Rameshwaram, Dwarka and Badrinath makes the four Holy dwellings Hinduism.

A Rath Yatra is an excursion in a chariot joined by the general public. Otherwise called Chariot Festival, this is a standout amongst the most anticipated Hindu celebrations of the nation. It ordinarily alludes to a parade (travel) of gods, individuals dressed like gods, or basically religious holy people.

Rath Yatra
Preparing for car festival of Jagannath, Puri. Wikimedia

The festival and perception of the Puri Rath Yatra Festival go back to the time of the Puranas and the depictions of the same can be found in Brahma Purana, Padma Purana, and Skanda Purana and Kapila Samhita.

The acclaimed celebration in the time of June or July begins when the chariots of Lord Jagannath joined by his senior sibling Balabhadra and sister Devi Subhadra is conveyed out onto the Main Street of Puri known as Bada Danda. The Chariots are then taken to the Shri Gundicha Temple to their aunt’s home where the divinities are honoured nine days stay and are presented with sweet pancakes. On their way back to the Temple, the gods are offered Poda Pitha when their chariots stop at the Mausi Maa Temple. This sweet is a sort of prepared cake that is intended to be devoured by the poor people.

The Rath Yatra at Puri is a huge occasion in the whole composition that is seen by various travellers both outsiders and Indians. Amid the Rath Yatra, Puri is hued in the clearest shades of sheer satisfaction and pleasure and is rushed with aficionados who wish to pay their respect to the gods and look for their endowments.

HAPPY RATH YATRA TO ALL!

– by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter: @Nainamishr94

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San Francisco’s Hindu Chariot Procession Enters 51st Year on July 30

Amidst sounds of conch shells and holy chants, the procession witnesses devotees from all walks of life, celebrating and exhibiting the richness of the Hindu tradition.

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Rathayatra Parade s an annuallu organized festival in San Francisco.
The Rathayatra Parade witnesses immense zeal and enthusiasm of the devotees every year. Wikimedia

SAN FRANCISCO, JULY 28, 2017: The 51st Annual San Francisco Rathayatra Parade will be held on July 30.

The “Festival of the Chariots” (Rathayatra Festival) involves a parade with people pulling three chariots by ropes throughout Golden Gate Park. It also includes free vegetarian feast, live music, ancient Indian dances, etc. Thousands of people have reportedly been attending these free festivities in the past.

This parade is organized by International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) Berkeley (New Jagannatha Puri). ISKCON Berkeley Temple, said to be one of the ISKCON’s oldest temples in the world, opens daily at 04-30 am with Mangal Arati and holds Tulsi ((Holy Basil, Ocimum tenuiflorum) Puja (worship) every day. Jagannatha Swami Dasa is the Temple President. According to ISKCON, Lord Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or God.

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It is popularly deemed important to pass on Hindu spirituality, concepts, and traditions to coming generations amidst so many distractions in the consumerist society. It has been stressed time and again that instead of running after materialism; we should focus on inner search and realization of Self and work towards achieving moksha (liberation), which is the goal of Hinduism. The Rathayatra Parade is thus organized annually to exhibit the richness of Hinduism.

ALSO READ: Rath Yatra 2016: Lord Jagannath begins his 9-Day sojourn amid tight security

Rath Yatra is said to be the oldest known parade in the world and it is believed that pullers of this Lord Jagannatha’s chariot receive immense spiritual benefit. Popularized outside India by ISKCON founder A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, this annual parade festival has reportedly been held annually in over 100 cities around the world since 1967.

 

Jagannath Rath Yatra is a an annual festival held in Puri.
Idol of Lord Jagannath at the Puri Rathyatra (2016) Wikimedia

The original Ratha Jatra is held on a grand scale in Puri (Odisha, India), where the presiding deities of Sri Mandira—Jagannatha, Balabhadra, and Subhadra—with celestial wheel Sudarshana are driven on the chariots to about two miles north Gundicha temple in an elaborate ritual procession, where the huge colorfully decorated chariots are drawn by thousands of devotees.

After a stay of seven days, the deities return to their abode in Sri Mandira. A glimpse of Lord Jagannatha on the chariot is considered to be highly auspicious and even a touch of the chariot is believed to yield benefits equivalent to several pious deeds. Many poets have written its glories. This year, it was held on June 25.

The practice of Rathayatra has recurring references in Hindu holy texts. Ancient Hindu scripture Katha Upanishad talks about the concept of chariot, where soul is the deity, body is the chariot, and intellect the charioteer. Skanda Purana also glorifies Rath Jatra’s sanctity.


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Ulta Rath Yatra: Devotees Celebrate the return of the Trinity to their Abode

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Ulta Rath Yatra
During Ulta Rath Yatra in Kolkata. Wikimedia

New Delhi, July 3, 2017: The Chariots of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra returned to their abode on Monday, after a stay of eight days in the Gundicha temple of Puri, marking the annual festival of Chariots which is held at Puri in Odisha. This return journey of the sibling deities is called Bahuda Yatra and is also known as Ulta Rath Yatra or Ulto Rath Yatra.

As a part of Rath Yatra, the deities of Jagannath, his elder brother Balabhadra and younger sister Subhadra are taken out to their aunt’s temple which is the Gundicha temple, where they stay for eight days and then return in their three respective chariots from the Garden House or ‘Adapa Mandapa’ in Gundicha temple. This temple is just 2 Kms away from the main temple.

The Bahuda Yatra is celebrated every year on the tenth day of bright fortnight of the Hindu calendar month of Ashadha which falls in the month of June or July according to the Gregorian calendar.

Devotees pulled the richly decorated chariots, that resembled the temples, as a part of the ritual. On the way back home, the Trinity stopped at the Mausima temple where the Trinity were offered ‘poda pitha’ made of rice, jaggery, coconuts, and lentils, which is considered as the lord’s favorite. The Emami temple founders along with their family members performed ‘Chhera Pahanra’ as they swept on the chariots with a golden broom.

Lakhs of devotees gather every year to witness the Trinity’s Bahuda Yatra, and the police tighten their belts in order to make the festival go on smoothly. Devotees from all over the world come to Puri with a desire to help pull the chariots of the dieties which is considered as an auspicious deed. This is the only day where everybody seeking blessings can get their glimpse of the dieties, even the ones who are not allowed in the temple premises during regular days, like the non Hindus or the foreigners.

The Trinity would be ready for dharshan to the people in temple tomorrow during the ‘Suna Besha’. The dieties, as a part of the celebration, would be attired in gold ornaments and worshipped on their chariots.

– by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

 

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Snana Yatra in Odisha commemorates the appearance of Lord Jagannath

The Snana Yatra is a sacred festival for the devotees of Lord Jagannath. It is a 'bathing festival' celebrated on a full moon day in the Hindu month of Jyeshtha

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Snana Yatra
Jagannath, Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra. This year, Snana Yatra was on June 9 in Odisha. Wikimedia
  • Snana Yatra is a sacred festival to commemorate Lord Jagannath
  • It is celebrated by his devotees on the full moon day in the Hindu month of Jyestha 
  • On this day, the deities Jagannath, Subhadra, Balabharda, and Madanmohan are ceremoniously bathed and decorated

June 09, 2017: On the holy festival of Snana Yatra, large crowds of devotees come to the Jagannath Temple in Odisha to commemorate the appearance of Lord Jagannath. It takes place in the Hindu month of Jyestha on a Purnima (full moon) day. This year, it was on June 9.

Lord Jagannath is the deity worshiped by Buddhists and Hindus. Lord Jagannath means the ‘Lord of the Universe’. Most worshippers and be found in Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Gujarat, Assam, and Manipur.

A day before the Snana Yatra, the images of Jagannath, Sudarshana, Balabhadra, and Subhadra are taken to the procession which is called the snana-vedi (bathing pandal). The procession is known as ‘Pahandi’ in the local language.

Snana Yatra
Shri Jagannath Temple, Puri. Wikimedia

The proceedings are known to be sacred. The Devotees strongly believe that getting a glimpse of this bathing ceremony of the Lord will wash away their sins. Hence, the ceremony attracts people from different places in large numbers. The bathing platform is 76 feet high which makes it visible to people outside the temple as well.

The snana-vedi is beautifully decorated with traditional paintings of trees and gardens. The deities are decorated with flowers. The bathing water is ritually purified water drawn from the northern well of the temple only once on this day of the year.

After the bathing ritual, the ceremony is concluded by dressing the Lord Jagannath in an elephant headgear symbolic of Lord Ganesha.

– by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394