Puri Rath Yatra Festival in Puri, Odisha, India
Rath Yatra Festival is celebrated on Dwitiya of Shukla Paksha of Odiya Calendar. It means it is celebrated on 2nd day of the Waxing Moon phase of July or Ashadh month of Hindu calendar.
NOTE: Check here dates of Rath Yatra 2018.
Rath Yatra is not a single day event but several day event which includes following rituals:
Important Rituals in Ratha Yatra at Puri
Snana Yatra or Snana Purnima :
Snana Yatra translates to bathing festival of deities. Deities are bathed on Full Moon Day of Jyestha Month of Hindu calendar. 108 pitchers water of traditional earthen pitchers is poured on deities.
It is believed that after such elaborate ritualistic baths deities catch fever so they don’t return to temple. Hence, public view of deities is barred. Only 3 Anasara Pattis are tied to a bamboo screen is visible. This Anasar Patti hides the deities from public view. These Anasara Pattis are strong reminder of Traditional Tribal elements in customs. Anasara Pattis are clothes with traditional Oriya paintings and hued in natural colours. During this period, the deities are given roots, leaves, berries and fruits to cure them from their indisposition. Any other offering is prohibited during Anasara.
Nava Yauvana Vesha:
After 15 days of Anasara deities make appearance in front of public. On this occasion deities are adorned in new costumes and beautifully decorated.
Next ceremony after Nava Yauvana Vesha is Rath Yatra. On Rtha Yatra devotees pull the Chariot of Lord Jagannath from Grand Avenue or BadaDanda to Gundicha Temple.
The three deities enter the temple of their aunt on the next day and stay there for seven days. After the week-long stay, the three deities return and the journey is known as Bahuda Yatra or Bahuda Jatra in Odiya language.
During the return journey, the chariot of Jagannath stops at the Ardha-Sani Temple (Mausi Ma Temple). Here, Lord accepts his favorite rice cake known as Poda Pitha from his aunt.
The Suna Besha of Deities:
Suna Besha of deities refers to the ornamented form of deities. When deities return from Gundicha temple after spending about a week they are kept outside the temple. On the next day, the deities are attired in new costumes and this new form of the idols is known as ‘Suna Vesa’ or “Suna Besha.”
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