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Sri Rath Yatra (Chariot Festival)

Posted on: June 28, 2017 Posted By: Gaudiya Mission

Sri Rath Yatra festival is the paramount festival of Sri Purushottom Dham. This festival is also called “NABAYATRA”, “NANDIGHOSH-YATRA’, “PATITPABON-YATRA”, “MAHABEDI-UTHSOB”. Once upon a time Sri Jagannathdeb gave a divine command to Indradyumna that in every shukla second lunar day in the month of Ashar, Sri Subhadra and Sri Balaram, accompanied with Sri Jagannathdeb will ascend to chariot and after that holy ascending, “NabaYatra” festival will be celebrated. The chariot wood is collected from Ronpur festival of Doshpolla district in bosonto ponchomi in the month of Magh (as per Bengali calendar). Earlier this wood was served by the king of Bonpur. Now Odisha-Government supplies this wood. The Brahmin of sixteen descendants are giving the chariot ropes. The three chariots of Balabhadra, Subhadra and Jagannath are newly constructed every year with wood of specified trees like phassi, dhausa etc.



Lord Jagannath's chariot is called Nandighosa, the chariot of Balarama is called Taladhwaja and the chariot of Subhadra, known as Padwadhaja or Debdalana. Each of the chariot is attached to four horses. The chariots are painted with bright colors and the tops are covered with red, black, yellow, or green canopies. Lord Jagannath uses red and yellow, Lord Balaram uses red and green, while Goddess Subhadra uses red and black. All the chariots have separate features to distinguish from each other. The ropes of the huge chariots are pulled by millions of devotees. After ascending of all deities in chariot, all kings of Odisha clean the chariot with golden whisk according to ancient tradition. This service is called “Cherapohora”. There are many daities with Sri Jagannath, Sri Balaram and Sri Subhadra in three chariots. Boraho, Gobordhonkrishna, Gopikrishna, Nrisinha, Ram and Narayan, Tribikram, Hanuman and Rudra with Sri Jagannathdeb. Ganesh, Kartikeo, Sarbamangala, Pralambaghna, Halayudh, Mrityunjay, Natambar, Maheswar and Seshdeb with SriBolbhadra and Chandi, Chamunda, Ugratara, Bondurga, Shuli Durga, Barahi, Shyamakali, Mangala, Bimala with Sri Subhadra.

In the time of drawning chariots the local police surrounded all chariots with hard rope. All devotees are moves forward with sankirtan in front of chariots. When the chariots continue to go to “Bolgondi” then SriJagannath, SriBalaram and Sri Subhadra and all service devotees feel tired and take rest there. In the afternoon, all chariots started moving slowly and arrived to the temple of Gundicha in the evening. The fifth lunar day of Rath Yatra is called “Hera Panchami”.

According to spiritual significance of Katha Upanishad- The festival talks about Human body as Rath and sarathi or driver as God, who drives the chariot of body to the yatra/journey to material existence or Bhavasagar. Classically it is mentioned as- The soul drive with in the Rath of body, which has been intellect and total devoted to God the driver of the chariot towards the material existence. The wheels are the significance of valor. The horses are and persistence. The horses are the synonyms of vigor, self discipline, tolerance, charity and discrimination, where as pity, equanimity and forgiveness are the reins of horses.

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