Rath Yatra: The Annual Sojourn & Many ‘Beshas’ Of Lords

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Bhubaneswar: The world famous Rath Yatra is usually celebrated on ‘Ashadha Sukla Dwitiya’ i.e. on the second day of the bright fortnight of Ashadha every year.

Devotees throng Puri from all corners of the country and abroad to take part in the yatra. Thousands of devotees are waiting to pull the chariots on Rath Yatra, which will be held on July 14.

A few ceremonies are lined up before Rath Yatra in Jagannath Temple in Puri. They are:

Snana Yatra

The Snana Yatra is held on ‘Jyestha Purnima’, when Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra along with Sudarsana are brought to the Snana Mandapa for bathing.

After bathing, elephant masks or Ganesh Vesha are put on the faces of the deities. Then the deities are offered Bhog and Arati. The deities are then taken back to the temple in a procession where they for 15 days.

Anavasara

During Anavasara after Snana Yatra, it is believed that Lord Jagannath becomes sick and suffers from fever. The Daitas (servants of Lord Jagannath) take care of Lord Jagannath. He is not seen in the temple during this period.

Naba Jaubana Besha

After staying at the Anavasara Ghara for a fortnight, the Lord becomes youthful again and looks as attractive as ever.

Naba Jaubana Besha festival is held for the purpose of rejuvenating Lord Jagannath’s body. Daitas wash the body of Lord Jagannath and repaint it except for the eyes.

In this ceremony, the eyes of the deities are painted by their respected Pujaris and Puja is started in the temple.

After the ceremonies are completed, the deities are taken out from the temple and placed in their respective chariots on the Ratha Yatra day.

Rath Yatra

Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra are placed on chariots Nandighosa, Taladhwaja and Darpadalana.

The chariots are kept in front of the Simha Dwara, facing the north side before the yatra begins. In a traditional ceremonial manner, first, Sudarshana is brought from the temple and placed on to the chariot of Devi Subhadra, followed by Balabhadra. Then Devi Subhadra and Lord Jagannath are placed on their respective chariots.

After all the rituals are completed, the Rath Yatra begins with the Balabhadra chariot going first as he is elder. Then follows the chariot of Subhadra and Lord Jagannath.

Devotees pull the chariots while singing devotional songs to the sound of drums and trumpets.

The chariots of Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra reach the Gundicha Temple directly, whereas the chariot of Lord Jagannath stops at the Mausima Temple. Here, the Lord is offered Poda Pitha and then the chariot of Lord Jagannath proceeds towards the Gundicha Temple.

Bahuda Yatra

In Bahuda Yatra, the deities are brought back to their respective chariots and the Rath is pulled back to the main temple.

Suna Vesha

On Bada Ekadasi, the deities are dressed in Suna Vesha, made of pure gold and attached to the deities. They are adorned with gold ornaments.

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