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The Rath Yatra

The festival of the Lord

Ratha Yatra is a huge Hindu festival associated with Lord Jagannath held at Puri in the state of Orissa, India during the months of June or July. 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 Chhaka in Puri).Three richly decorated chariots, 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 which is situated at a distance of 2 km from their temple. New chariots are built every year. This is the only day when devotees who are not allowed in the temple premises such as non-Hindus and foreigners, can get their glimpse of the deities. 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. Millions of devotees congregate at Puri for this annual event from all over the country and abroad. It is also telecasted live on many Indian channels and International channels.

Taladhwaja, Devadalana & Nandighosa
Taladhwaja - Devadalana - Nandighosa

Gundicha TempleGundicha Temple or the Garden House of the Hindu God Jagannath is situated in the temple town of Puri in the state of Orissa, India. While it remains vacant most of the year, it is occupied by idols of the deities Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra for nine days every year during the annual Rath Yatra in the Hindu month of Ashadh. The temple is located on an end of the Bada Danda or the Grand Avenue at a distance of exactly 2688.0696 metres (about 3 km) away from the main shrine of the Jagannath Temple (Puri) The temple built in typical Kalingan style is set in a garden. It is said that to honour the devotion of Queen Gundicha, wife of the legendary King Indradyumna who built the Puri Jagannath temple that Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra leave their regular abode in the main temple and spend a few days in this temple built by her in their honour. Daru (the neem log) which came by the Bay of Bengal and the first deities of lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra and Sudarshana was built by that log at the yagyanvedi at Gundicha temple by Lord Vishwakarma (the god of architecture).