Discuss The Importance Of The Three Deities Involved In The Rath Yatra And Their Roles In The Festival

Discuss The Importance Of The Three Deities Involved In The Rath Yatra And Their Roles In The Festival

The Rath Yatra is one of the most celebrated melas which is colorful and charming. This mela originated from the coastal nation of Odisha where the chariots of three deities are pulled through the streets of पुरी. In the Hindu calendar, Rath Yatra is celebrated on the second day of Ashadha month. In Hindu scriptures, this day is referred to as ‘आषाढ़ शुक्ल पक्ष द्वितीया’. This blog will talk about the importance of the three deities in the Rath Yatra and their roles in the mela.

History Of Rath Yatra:

The Rath Yatra is a mela celebrated in Puri, Odisha. As per the legend, the Rath Yatra originated when Devi Subhadra, the sister of Lord Jagannath, wished to see the land of Puri. Lord Jagannath and his elder brother Balabhadra and sister Devi Subhadra set an adventure to fulfill her wish on a chariot. Also, Lord Jagannath visited his aunt’s place, Gundicha Temple or Mausi Maa Temple, 3 kilometers from Puri. There they stayed for a week. Since then, the Rath Yatra has been celebrated yearly, consistent with the Hindu calendar.

Rath Yatra has developed notably over the centuries, from a neighborhood spiritual occasion to a grand international celebration. The mela dates back to historic times, in Puranic texts and traditions connected to King Indradyumna. Initially, it was a regional event in Puri, Odisha with simple rituals.

In the medieval period, under the guidance of various dynasties, including the Gajapatis, the festival gained prominence with grander chariots and elaborate ceremonies. In modern times, Rath Yatra has crossed boundaries. It is celebrated with notable processions in major cities like London, New York, and Singapore. 

Auspicious Day And Time 

The Rath Yatra in 2024 starts on June 29th and ends on July 7th. The Shubh Tithi and Muhurat of the mela are,

द्वितीया तिथि Start – 07 July 2024 at 04:26 AM

द्वितीया तिथि End – 08 July 2024 at 04:fifty nine AM

During the Rath Yatra, devotees may also fast for various periods, including a complete-day fast to avoid certain meal types or observe specific nutritional regulations. Finally, the fast is ended by consuming “Mahaprasad,” which is blessed by the deities and provided to devotees as a form of divine grace.

Practices For The Occasion

Rituals And Procession of Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra

The Rath Yatra includes the majestic procession with many rituals stated below.

Chariot Construction: 

The Rath Yatra starts with preparing chariots for Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra, and Lord Jagannath, constructed separately each with wooden logs in April or May. 

Rituals Performed During Yatra:

Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Devi Subhadra are bathed with 108 water pitchers. After the Snan Purnima, the deities are kept away from public view for 15 days. The deities’ eyes are symbolically repainted and restored on the day before Rath Yatra. The deities are carried out of the Jagannath Temple in a grand procession and positioned on their chariots. The Gajapati Maharaja (King of Puri) sweeps the chariots with a golden broom and sprinkles sandalwood water. Devotees pull the 3 chariots through the streets of Puri to the Gundicha Temple.

Route Description Of The Rath Yatra

The Rath Yatra starts at the Jagannath Temple, one of the 4 sacred Char Dham pilgrimage sites. The deities are carried along Bada Danda, Puri’s primary avenue, which extends about three kilometers from the Jagannath Temple to the Gundicha Temple.

The chariots halt at the Mausima Temple, dedicated to Lord Jagannath’s aunt. Here, the deities are offered Poda Pitha, a special sweet made from rice, jaggery, and coconut. This significant spot along the route is where many devotees gather to witness the deities. The procession concludes at the Gundicha Temple, where the deities reside for nine days. This temple is considered the birthplace of Lord Jagannath and holds immense significance during the festival. After their nine-day stay, the deities return to the Jagannath Temple in a similar procession known as the Bahuda Yatra.

Importance Of Fasting

Fasting is observed by many devotees throughout the Rath Yatra. During the Rath Yatra, devotees may also fast for various periods, including a complete-day fast to abstain from specific varieties of meals or follow precise dietary restrictions. Fasting begins at sunrise on the day of the Yatra and concludes after the deities reach the Gundicha Temple. This practice cultivates subjects, purifies thoughts, and complements religious consciousness, preparing devotees to receive blessings from Lord Jagannath. Finally, the fast is ended by consuming “Mahaprasad,” which is blessed by the deities and presented to devotees as a shape of divine grace.

How To Eat And When To Eat During Rath Yatra:

During the fasting period of Rath Yatra, devotees traditionally avoid grains, pulses, and certain spices. Instead, they prefer sattvic (pure) and easily digestible foods, including nuts, dairy products like milk and yogurt, and roots like potatoes and sweet potatoes. Some also opt for particular fasting recipes with buckwheat flour, water chestnut flour, or tapioca pearls.

After the festival activities, devotees break their fast with “महाप्रसाद,” which includes offerings made to Lord Jagannath and then distributed to devotees. Mahaprasad typically consists of rice, dal (lentils), vegetable curries, and sweets like Khaja and coconut laddoos. 

Devotees often start the meal by consuming a small amount of water or a bit of fruit, accompanied by the Mahaprasad objects. It’s normal to devour mindfully and with gratitude, acknowledging the sanctity of the food supplied to the deity.

The Rath Yatra is a testament to the iconic legacy of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Devi Subhadra, whose divine presence inspires millions of devotees globally. As the chariots roll through the streets amidst chants and prayers, the deities bestow benefits of peace, prosperity, and religious success upon all who partake in the pageant. Do you find it challenging to participate in person in such grand celebrations? To bridge this gap, Ghar Mandir offers online puja booking services, ensuring that the divine blessings are accessible to all. By approaching our epuja services you can ensure that the divine grace and blessings will enrich your lives with spiritual fulfillment.

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