What is rathyatra festival?
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The word "Rath" means chariot, and "Yatra" means journey or pilgrimage. The festival involves the procession of three chariots carrying the deities of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Goddess Subhadra, who are believed to be the divine siblings. The chariots are pulled by devotees who consider it a great honor to participate in the procession.
History of Rath Yatra: The history of Rath Yatra dates back to ancient times. It is believed that the festival was first celebrated in the city of Puri in the state of Odisha, where the famous Jagannath Temple is located. The festival was started by King Indradyumna, who wanted to establish a new temple for Lord Jagannath.
According to the legend, Lord Jagannath appeared in King Indradyumna's dream and instructed him to build a new temple. The king followed the instructions and built the temple, but he was unable to find the idol of Lord Jagannath. It was then that Lord Brahma appeared and told the king that he could find the idol on the shores of Puri.
The king found the idol and brought it to the temple, where it was consecrated. The temple has been the center of the Rath Yatra festival ever since.
The Festival of Chariots:
Rath Yatra is celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion by the people of India. The festival usually falls in June or July, and it marks the onset of the monsoon season. The festival lasts for nine days, and the procession of the chariots is the main event of the festival.
The chariots of the deities are decorated with flowers and colorful fabrics, and they are pulled by thousands of devotees who chant the name of Lord Jagannath. The chariots are pulled through the streets of the city, and the procession is accompanied by musicians and dancers.
The festival is also known for the distribution of Prasad, which is food that has been offered to the deities. The Prasad is distributed to the devotees, and it is considered to be a blessing from the divine siblings.
Significance of Rath Yatra:
Rath Yatra is a significant festival in Hinduism, and it is celebrated for various reasons. The festival is believed to be a celebration of the unity of different religions and castes. The festival brings together people from all walks of life, and it promotes the message of love, unity, and brotherhood.
The festival is also believed to be a celebration of the bond between the divine siblings, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Goddess Subhadra. The chariot procession is believed to symbolize the journey of the divine siblings from their temple to their aunt's house, where they stay for a few days before returning to the temple.
The festival is also significant because it is believed to be a time when Lord Jagannath, the supreme deity, comes out of his temple to bless his devotees. The festival is considered to be a time of renewal and rejuvenation, and it is believed to bring good luck and prosperity to those who participate in it.