Rath Yatra

Rath Yatra

Rath Yatra

Ratha Yatra (Car Festival) is associated with Lord Jagannath, held at Puri in the state of Odisha, India. Ratha yatra, the Festival of Chariot celebrated every year at Puri, the temple town in Odisha, on the second day of shukla pakshya (waxing cycle of moon) of Ashadh Maas (3rd month in Lunar Calendar). Most of the city's society is based around the worship of Jagannath with the ancient temple being the fulcrum of the area. The festival commemorates Lord Jagannath's annual visit to Gundicha mata's temple via aunt's home (Mausi Maa Temple which is near Balagandi Chaka in Puri).

Three richly decorated chariots named Nandighosa (for Jagannath), Taladhwaja (for Balabhadra) and Debedalana (for Subhadra) resembling temple structures, are pulled through the streets of Puri. This commemorates the annual journey of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balarama, and their sister Subhadra to their aunt' s temple, the Gundicha Temple . During the festival, devotees from all over the world go to Puri with an earnest desire to help pull Lords' chariot with the help of other priests pulling the chariots with ropes. They consider this a pious deed and risk their lives in the huge crowd. The huge processions accompanying the chariots play devotional songs with drums, tambourines, trumpets etc. Children line the streets through which the chariot will pass and add to the mass chorus.

The Rath carts themselves are some approximately 45 feet (14 m) high and are pulled by the thousands of pilgrims who turn up for the event; the chariots are built anew each year only from a particular type of tree. Descriptions

  • 'Snana Pumima' marks the beginning of this festival. On this day the three deities—Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra take prolonged bath on an open platform known as 'Snana Bedi'.
  • Then they retire for 15 days popularly called the period of 'Anabasara' and remain in isolation.
  • During this period, no public worship is performed. After 15 days of isolation, the Gods come out of the temple in a colourful procession to board their respective Chariots and thereafter begins the journey known as "Ratha Jatra'.
  • The presiding deities of the Jagannath Temple, Puri main temple, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra, with the celestial wheel [ Sudarshana chakra ] are taken out from the temple precincts in an elaborate ritual procession to their respective chariots.
  • The huge, colorfully decorated chariots, are drawn by multitude of devotees on the Bada danda, the grand avenue to the Gundicha Temple
  • On their way back from the Gundicha Temple, the three deities stop for a while near the Mausi Maa Temple (Aunt's abode) and have an offering of the Poda Pitha, which is a special type of pancake supposed to be the Lord's favourite. After a stay for seven days, the deities return to their abode.
  • The Gods perform their Return Journey on the 9th day and this is known as 'Bahuda Jatra'.
  • The Return Journey of the chariots takes place in the same order as in the Ratha Jatra. Balabhadra's chariot moves first, followed by those of Subhadra and Jagannath. On His way back, Jagannath slops for a while at Ardhasani temple popularly called Mausi Maa Temple or the Temple of Aunt. He accepts his favourite rice-cake, Poda Pitha from the Aunt.
  • The three chariots, pulled by thousands of devotees, reach back the Singhadwara in the late afternoon of the Bahuda day. On the next day the Bada Ekadasi, the three deities are attired in costumes of glittering gold ornaments and are worshipped by lakhs of devotees. This form of the deities Is known as the 'Suna Vesha'.
  • On the Dwadasi day, the three deities go back to their original place of the temple, the 'Ratna Slnghasana', in the Pahandi style. Their arrival into the sanctum sanctorum marks the end of the Ratha Jatra, the grand festival of chariots.
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Muslin Fabric

This gossamer light muslin fabric has found mention in the writings of many visitors to India, even as far back as the 3rd century B.C. A great deal of muslin was produced in and exported from Bengal. Dacca was the main region where cotton was cultivated due to the high humidity of the region, which prevented the delicate thread from breaking on contact with the air. The cotton spun was very white since the Brahmaputra and the Ganges Rivers have bleaching properties. The chikan workers in Bengal used this fine muslin for embroidery.

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