: Rituals and Celebrations
On the day of the journey, people get up early and offer prayers to Jagannatha.
The Chariots are lined up and decorated in front of the Puri Temple. The Rath
Yatra processions are flagged off after the rituals performed by the King of
Puri. Locals believe that there existed an incestuous relationship between
Jagannatha and his sister Subhadra, which provoked abuses when the images were
out in public. The entire yatra is a symbolic humanization of God and an
attempt to bring God down from his pedestal of glory to a more human level.
Only the King of Puri and the King of Nepal are allowed to touch the idols as
they belong to the Chandravanshi dynasty, the same as Krishna. Then the
teeming pilgrims line up and pull the chariot. In his grandeur and ceremonial
style, the King sweeps the chariot platforms with a golden handled broom and
sprinkle with scented water. When the chariots reach the summerhouse, the
idols are installed. The journey back, a week later, consists of another
ritual, known as Phera Rath Yatra.
On this day, children are seen on the streets carrying miniature versions of
the chariots with tiny idols installed on them. Shops and houses are decorated
with flowers, lights and rangoli. Special dishes and sweets are prepared. Most
people refrain from eating non-vegetarian food.
When the chariots reach the summerhouse, the idols are installed. The journey
back, a week later, consists of another ritual, known as Phera Rath Yatra.
Rath Yatra Festival
Historical Significance of Rath Yatra