The Jagannath Temple in Odisha’s Puri is all set to host its 141st rath yatra in 2018, with the deity dressed up as a royal. The name ‘Jagannath’ is derived from two Sanskrit words – ‘Jagan’ meaning ‘Universe’ and ‘Nath’ meaning ‘Lord’. Jagannath is considered to be a form of Lord Vishnu. The temple is one of the four Hindu pilgrimage centres known as ‘Char Dham’ – a Hindu is expected to make once in a lifetime. The festival marks the journey of Lord Jagannath, his brother Lord Balabhadra and sister Goddess Subhadra from the Puri Jagannath Temple to the Gudicha Temple. The day falls on dwitiya tithi during Shukla Paksha of Ashada month. In 2018, it falls on July 14.
Jagannath Rath Yatra celebrates Lord Jagannath’s annual visit to Gundicha Mata Temple, also in Puri. The visit is said to be in honour of Queen Gundicha, wife of King Indradyumna. During the visit, Lord Jagannath along with his brother Lord Balabhadra and sister Goddess Subhadra spends few days in the temple built by Mata Gundicha. A day before the visit, Gundicha Temple is cleaned and the ritual is known as ‘Gundicha Marjana’. The fourth day after Rath Yatra is celebrated as Hera Panchami. It is believed to be the day Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Jagannath’s companion, visits Gudicha Temple.
Lord Jagannath returns to his main abode after resting eight days and is known as ‘Bahuda Yatra’. It is said that Lord Jagannath makes a visit to Mausi Maa temple dedicated to Goddess Ardhashini.
Devotees in lakhs throng the temple to get a glimpse or touch the chariots of Lord Jagannath. Three giant beautifully decorated chariots carry idols of the three deities. ‘Chhappan bhog’, meaning bhog of 56 items, are offered to the lord and are later relished by the people. Processions are organised in Ahmedabad and Kolkata. Not just in India, the festival is also celebrated in New York, Paris, Laos, and Toronto.
You can watch the live telecast of Jagannath Rath Yatra on Doordarshan National, DD Odia, and Odisha TV. There will also be a few YouTube channels which will telecast the ceremony.
Dwitiya tithi begins: July 14, 2018 at 4:32 pm
Dwitiya tithi ends: July 15, 2018 at 00:55 am