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The festival of Chariots, Ratha Yatra is one of the most famous festivals in India, mostly in the state of Orissa. It is also called as Dasavatara, Gundicha Yatra and Navadina Yatra. This festival is dedicated to the Lord Jagannatha and his elder brother Lord Balabhadra and to his sister Goddess Subhadra. It is celebrated in the month of June or July. This festival is a symbol of integration and equality. The most famous and widely known Rath Yatra is the Puri Rath Yatra and more than one million people from all around the world visit to see this festival.
The celebration of this Festival:
On the day of this ratha yatra festival the 3 deities Lord Jagannatha, Goddess Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra are worshipped within the temple and are taken out on the street so that everyone can see them. Each one of them has their own separate chariot and they are decorated with colors and there are thousands and thousands of devotee surrounded by the chariots. The biggest chariot is of Lord Jagannath which has 18 wheels and is around 45.6 feet high and it’s named as Nandighosa. The second biggest is of Lord Balabhadra named as Taladhwaja and is around 45 feet high and has 16 wheels. Devadalana, the chariot of Goddess Subhadra is the smallest chariot among the three and has 14 wheels and is 44.6 feet high.
All the three chariots are drawn to their aunt’s temple, Gundicha Temple which is 2 km away from Lord Jagannath temple. After a seven day stays the deities return to their abode in Srimandira. Every year the chariots are constructed newly with woods and in every 12 years, the idols are replaced by new ones. This festival is all about the journey from Lord Jagannath temple to Gundicha Temple. This festival is celebrated in more than 108 cities all around the world.Other Famous Ratha Yatra’s:
One of the most famous Rath Yatra is the Puri Rath Yatra in Odisha. Besides this, there are other Rath Yatra’s which are widely known like the Rath Yatra of Mahesh at Serampore in West Bengal, Madduramma Jatre at Huskur in Bangalore and Jamalpur Jagannath Rath Yatra at Ahmedabad in Gujarat.
This is celebrated on the same day as the Puri Ratha Yatra. It is the second oldest chariot festival in India. It is celebrated in Kolkata. The chariots of Lord Jagannath were pulled by people and people used to throng to have a share in pulling the long ropes attached to the chariots.
This Rath Yatra journey starts from the 400-year-old Jagannath Temple in Jamalpur area in the morning. It comprises of 101 trucks, 18-22 decorated elephants, seven cars and 18 bhajan mandalis. It is taken out every year on ‘Ashadhi Bij’ in the month of Ashad according to Hindu calendar and will move through areas like Kalupur, Jamalpur, Shahpur and Dariyapur.
The primary deity for this Rath Yatra is a goddess Madduramma. It is celebrated in the month of February. The locale called this festival as Parse. Villagers from more than 100 villages celebrate this festival by pulling the chariots till Madduramma temple which has a history of 300 years. The chariots are decorated and are the center of attraction for the people.
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