The annual Rath Yatra which is held in Odisha's Puri will begin tomorrow. The mega festival which marks the journey of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balbhadra and Goddess Subadhra from their actual abode (the Puri Jagannath Temple) to the Gundicha temple commences on Dwitiya Tithi during Shukla Paksha of Ashada month. This year, it falls on July 14 according to the Gregorian calendar.
According to Drikpanchang, Dwitiya Tithi begins at 4:32 am on July 14 and ends at 00:55 am on July 15.
The significance of the Ratha Yatra:
Lord Jagannath ( the Lord of the Universe derived from the Sanskrit words - Jagat meaning Universe and Nath meaning Lord) leaves his abode along with siblings Balbhadra and Subadhra for Gundicha Mata's Temple, a monument built in the memory of Queen Gundicha, wife of King Indradyumna who built the world famous Puri temple.
It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi, visits her consort Lord Jagannath on the fourth day and this day is referred to as the Hera Panchami, which falls on the sixth day or Shashti.
After spending about a week at the Gundicha temple, the trio of Jagannath, Balbhadra and Subhadra return to their original abode. This ceremony is called Bahuda Yatra.
Devotees pull three beautifully decorated giant chariots which carry the idols of the three main deities. The preparations for this festival begins almost 18 days. The chariots have a distinct look and name.
Lord Jagannath's chariot is known as Garudadhwaja (named after Garuda, the vehicle or Vahana of Lord Vishnu), Nandighosha or Kapiladhwaja. The deity is accompanied by Madanmohan.
Balabhadra along with Ramakrishna ride a chariot named Taladhwaja/Langaladhwaja and Subadhra and Sudarshana are aboard a chariot named Padmadhwaja, Darpadalana or Devadalana.
The atmosphere outside the temple on the first day is electric as devotees get to see the deities commencing their annual journey.
Here's wishing one and all a very Happy Rath Yatra.