Ratha Yatra which is locally called (Ratha Jatra) is a Hindu festival held at Puri in the state of Odisha.
This festival is celebrated annually on Asadha Sukla Pakhya Dwitiya. This festival remembers Lord Jagannath’s annual visit to Gundicha Temple via Mausi Maa Temple which is called (Aunt’s Home) near Saradha Bali Puri.
In this Ratha Yatra the deities Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra (Lord Jagannath’s Elder Brother), younger sister Devi Subhadra with Sudarshan are taken outside with a huge procession and placed inside the Ratha (The Chariot) which are already prepared outside of the Jagannath Temple. This Procession is called Pahandi.
After Pahandi, Gajapati Maharaja, The king of Puri does the “Chhera Pahanra” (The cleaning of Chariot) which are ready in front of the Jagannath temple.
After that, Devotees can pull the Ratha(Chariots) up to the Gundicha Temple, which is the actual birthplace of Lord Jagannath, Balabharda, and Devi Subhadra.
When is the Festival Celebrated in 2020?
As pe the Odia calendar, the Ratha Yatra begins on the second day of Sukla Paksha of Ashadha month. In 2020 it comes on June 23 and continues upto 4th July.
How is the Ratha Yatra festival Celebrated?
This festival begins with Pahandi as mentioned above. The deities travel to Gundicha Temple which is few kilometers away from Jagannath Temple, pulled by devotees.
They remain there for the next seven days before returning via Mausi Maa Temple. The deities are transported via Chariots looks like a tower.
Which clearly looks like a temple. That’s why it is called Ratha Yatra. Millions of pilgrims come to see this world-famous festival.
Rituals during The Ratha Yatra Festival
Three huge chariots are made for three idols each year during this Festival. The Chariot work process takes place in public, in front of the Jagannath Temple. The Chariot construction starts on Akshaya Tritiya every year.
Debasnana Purnima (Snana Yatra) is the bathing festival of the holy idols, which is celebrated on Purnima of the Hindu month Jyestha. It is the day when Lord Jagannath took birth.
As per the Hindu calendar, it is the first festival of the year. In this festival, the deities are brought out from Jagannath temple to the Snana Mandap.
There they are bathed and decorated for the public audience and devotees. In 2020 this festival is done without any devotees and public audience due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Most of the rituals are goes live on most of the TV channels. You can watch live rituals online.
Important Ratha Yatra Rituals in 2020
- Chandan Yatra(Sunday), 26 April
- Snana Yatra(Friday), 05 June
- Netro Utsav(Saturday), 20 June
- Gundicha Yatra(Rath Yatra starts)(Tuesday), 23 June
- Hera Panchami (Saturday), 27 June
- Bahuda Yatra(Wednesday), 01 July
- Suna Besha(Thursday), 02 July
- Niladri Bije (Saturday), 04 July
Ratha Yatra 2020
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a question mark at this year’s Ratha Yatra. In Odisha, the COVID – 19 situations are in danger situation, it has already spread its tentacles in more than 15 districts as of 13th June 2020, which includes Puri district also.
According to the information, after getting the letter of the temple administration, the process of making masks has been started on behalf of the government organization, Boyanika.
Masks will be made in three types of designs in the same color as the cloths applied in the three chariots. It will be made in red-yellow, black-red, and green-red colors. The world-famous Rath Yatra of Mahaprabhu Shri Jagannath is on 23 June.
Earlier, the information about preparing the mask and providing it to the temple administration has been given by the government body, Boyanika.