The festival of Lord Jagnnath’s Rath Yatra in Puri will kick-off this week. Many among us could not help but get awed by the sheer importance of this event. Many are also curious to know about the significance of the Jagannath Rath Yatra, and why so many Krishna devotees go Puri in Odisha to witness this event.
As the festival starts from the second day of Ashada month during full moon of the Hindu lunar calendar. Idols of Lord Jagannath or Krishna, enshrined in the Shri Mandir of Puri with his sister Subhadra and elder brother Balabhadra, are taken out on the roads on three different chariots the Gundicha Mata Temple.
The Rath Jatra is also known as Gundicha Jatra, Navadina Jatra, Ghosa Jatra, Dasavatara Jatra and many more. Gundicha is the Queen of King Indradyumna the Maker of Jagannath Temple. It is also believed that the Lord was pleased with the queen’s devotions and conferred a boon upon her, promising to visit her palace once a year for a few day’s stay. The residence of Queen Gundicha turned into a temple later. The temple is built beautifully in the Kalinga style of architecture.
The significance of the Rath Yatra is immense for a person. It is believed that anyone who pulls the rope linked to the chariots of the deities and helps others also in doing so or merely touches the rope or chariots, gets the merit of the several penances.During the festival the deities are fed with their favorite Poda Pitha.
Another wonderful aspect of the yatra is that non-Hindus and foreign nationals are allowed to visit the Gundicha Temple to behold the gods and even partake the offerings. There is no other procession in India as grand as the Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra.