Rath Yatra: Everything To Know About This Pious Festival

May/17/2022 / by Richa Sharma
Rath Yatra
Image credits: Toss Hub

Ratha Yatra is also known as Navadina Yatra, Dasavatara Yatra, and Gundicha Yatra. It is an annual festival honoring Lord Krishna (Lord Jagannath). According to the traditional Oriya calendar, the celebration occurs on the second day of Shukla Paksha.

It is a significant celebration in Hinduism. The Jagannath Temple organizes this in Puri, Odisha. Jagannath Rath Yatra is celebrated yearly on the second day of Shukla Paksha in the Hindu month of Ashadha. Thousands of devotees go to the yatra each year.

However, owing to COVID constraints, the yatra will be performed without devotees this year. Lord Jagannath (the world’s monarch), his older brother Balbhadra (Balaram), and sister Subhadra are worshiped throughout the celebration. Three colossal wooden chariots for the yatra’s deities are crafted from the various Neem trees.

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Puri’s Rath Yatra symbolizes fraternity, peace, and harmony. Many devotees from all over the nation flock to this yatra to draw the Lord’s chariot and obtain good fortune. Everybody who takes part in the Rath Yatra is rewarded with joy and wealth. As decreed by the Supreme Court, the Rath Yatra will take place in a restricted region in Puri. Due to the Delta Plus variation of Covid and the risk of a third wave, the court has prohibited the Rath Yatra across the state.

The Chariot Used For Rath Yatra

Rath Yatra
Image credits: DNA India

​​The chariot used in the Rath Yatra is composed of Neem tree wood. It is eventually deconstructed and used as firewood in the temple kitchen. The temple presents the Lord with prasad, subsequently given to worshipers. Lord Jagannath’s primary chariot, or rath, is 44 feet tall; Balbhadra’s chariot is 43 feet tall, and Subhadra’s chariot is 42 feet tall.

Why Is Ratha Yatra Celebrated?

It is held at Puri, a prominent city in Odisha. Devotees dedicate their wish to visit Mathura, Lord Krishna’s or Lord Jagannath’s birthplace, to Lord Krishna or Lord Jagannath. They organize this celebration annually to fulfill his wish. Additionally, devotees think that by participating fervently in this event, they are liberated from the phases of birth and death. Muslims, too, observe the occasion.

What Is The Importance Of The Rath Yatra Festival?

From Jagannath Temple, devotees transport the idols of Lord Krishna, Lord Balabhadra, and Subhadra to Gundicha Temple. After that, the idols are placed in chariots. Priests observe Snana Purnima, a Hindu tradition in which three idols are washed with water (109 buckets). The idols will remain isolated until the day of the parade. This is referred to as Ansara. Odisha’s royal successor performs the ritual of Chera Pahara. During the Chera Pahara ceremony, the monarch transports the divinities and puts them on chariots.

The Significance And History Of The Jagannath Rath Yatra

Rath Yatra
Image credits: Live Mint

At the Jagannath Puri temple, the uninformed venerate Shri Jagannathji, Balabhadraji, and Subhadraji. The current temple was established in the 12th century by King Chodagan Dev. The temple is built in the Kalinga style of architecture. During the Rath Yatra, Shri Jagannathji, Balabhadraji, and Subhadra Ji journey in separate chariots to their aunt’s house, the Gundicha temple, located three kilometers from the Puri temple. They return to the Puri temple after an eight-day stay. It begins on Dwitiya Tithi of Shukla Paksha in Ashadh month. It concludes on Dashami Tithi eight days later with Shri Jagannathji, Balabhadraji, and Subhadraji.

Jagannath Yatra Rituals

The ceremonies for the festival begin around 18 days before the day of the Rath Yatra. The following is a daily schedule for the Jagannath Rath Yatra 2022:

  • Snana Poornima
  • Ansari
  • Chera Pahara
  • Bahuda Yatra
  • Suna Vesa
  • Hera Panchami

Ratha Yatra as the long journey of life toward Moksha

The body (shareera) embarks on a yatra (travel) at each birth to achieve its ultimate goal (Moksha), and this yatra is referred to as Rath Yatra. The ratha is a metaphorical portrayal of the body in the Katha Upanishad (1:3:3:4), while the yatra is the road traveled throughout each life. Interestingly, this Ratha Yatra is also seen as a life journey conducted to attain Moksha.

FAQs About Rath Yatra

Which God is Worshiped in Rath Yatra?

The Rath Yatra or Jatra commemorates the trip of Lord Jagannath, who is considered to be the Lord of the Universe, to his aunt’s residence. Jagannath’s yearly pilgrimage to Gundicha Temple through Mausi Maa Temple (maternal aunt’s home) at Saradha Bali, Puri, is commemorated by the festival.

Why do we celebrate this festival?

Lord Jagannath’s Rath Yatra is celebrated across India. According to Hindu traditions, Lord Jagannath is carried on a Rath Yatra and brought to the famed Gundicha Mata shrine, where he rests for seven days. Following this, Lord Jagannath’s return trip starts.

What happens during Rath Yatra?

Each year, worshippers observe this. The idols are carried out on chariots, and the three chariots are drawn through the streets of Puri by worshippers to the Gundicha temple, which is a few kilometers distant.

How many days does the this last?

It is a nine-day religious festival characterized by various rites and customs. Today, Lord Jagannath, Balbhadra, and Subhadra will ride their colossal wooden chariots to the Gundicha temple (a monument devoted to the memory of the Queen of Indradyumna) from the Puri shrine (constructed by King Indradyumna).


Now that you know everything about the Rath Yatra, it’s time to get ready to celebrate this festival with a lot of pomp and love! For more blogs about popular Indian festivals, keep reading Seema!


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