Saturday, July 3, 2010

Ratha Jatra (chariot festival of Puri in Orissa)-Introduction,History,Lord Jagannath(Krishna),Howto reach puri,International Ratha Yatras by ISKON

Ratha Jatra is a huge Hindu festival associated with Lord Jagannath held at Puri in the state of Orissa, India during the months of June Most of the city's society is based around the worship of Jagannath (Krishna) with the ancient temple being the fulcrum of the area. The festival commemorates Lord Jagannath's annual visit to his aunt's home.

The biggest and the grandest of all festivals, the highlight is the sacred journey of the statues of the Lord Jagannath of Puri with brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra from main temple to Gundicha Temple, where they remain for nine days. The mammoth wooden chariots carrying the three deities pulled by thousands of devotees, present a spectacular scene. The yatra (journey) begins on the second day of the lunar month (asadha).

The Rath Yatra is also known as Car Festival. An annual festival commemorates the journey of Krishna from Gokul to Mathura.It also symbolizes a journey to light from the dark, which commences on the 2nd day of the bright fortnight in the month of Asadha (June/July).

Lakhs of devotees converge to the city to join festivities lasting for nine days. In this journey, thousands haul the three huge rathas (chariots) carrying statues of Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra, down Grand road to the Gundicha Temple--just 2 km away in Puri, Orissa.

Puri Rath Yatra--

The chariot festival of Puri in Orissa, India. In the first phase of the rituals, the Chandan Yatra, the Chalanti Pratimas (moving statues) of the deities take a ceremonial ride in a boat in Narendra Tank for 21 consecutive days, after a refreshing bath in fragrant sandal wood (chandan) scented water.

Jagannath Temple in Puri :

The magnificent and beautiful temple of the Lord Jagannath (Lord Krishna), called Jaganath Temple, is situated in Puri, Orissa. Lord Jagannath is the Master of the Universe.

Jagannath Temple is a renowned centre of pilgrimage, more so for the spiritually inclined devotees of the Lord who visit the temple in great numbers throughout the year, particularly at the time of the annual religious event of much importance--the Car Festival, commonly known as Rath Yatra.

At time of the Rath Yatra, the images of Lord Jagannath, Balbhadra and Subhadra are put in mammoth chariots and pulled by the passionate devotees, some of whom throw themselves in front of the gigantic wheels of the chariots so that they could be killed and attain salvation.

How to reach to Puri

Air - Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport - 60 km. Indian Airlines offers excellent connections to Bhubaneswar from Delhi, Kolkata, Visakhapatnam, Nagpur,Hyderabad, Chennai, and Mumbai.

Rail - A terminus on the S.E. Railway having fast and superfast train links with New Delhi, Mumbai, Guwahati , Hyderabad ,Thiruvanantapuram, Kolkata and Baidyanath Dham & etc.Puri has good rail connections with Delhi , Kolkata, Tirupati, Okha and Ahmedabad.

Road - 60 km by State Highway from Bhubaneswar. One can also approach by road via Konark and then through the Marine Drive covering about 100 km.

The nearest airport is Bhubaneswar , 100km. away. The Kolkata -Chennai rail route of S.E.R. touches Chilka Lake at Balugaon , Chilka, Khallikote and Rambha . National Highway No. 5 runs along the lake and touches Balugaon , Barkul and Rambha. Buses and taxis are available from Cuttack ,Bhubaneswar,Puri and Berhampur to Chilka. OTDC provides luxury coaches and cars from Bhubaneswar and Puri.

International Ratha Yatras

Rath Jatra festival in New York City organized by ISKCON
The Ratha Jatra festival has become a common sight in most major cities of the world since 1968 through the ISKCON Hare Krishna movement. Its leader A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada successfully transplanted the festival which now happens on an annual basis in places all over the world in over 100 cities including Dublin, Belfast, Birmingham, London, Budapest, Melbourne, Montreal, Paris, New York, Singapore, Toronto, Antwerp, Kuala Lumpur and Venice, CA.The Rathajatra in Dhamrai, Bangladesh is one of the most important in Bangladesh.

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