Today, 6th July, world is eulogizing the Rath Yatra Festival. Let us apprise you with some of the interesting facts and myths bunched up with Jagannath Festival. They will amaze you all irrespective of the fact that you celebrate this festival or not. Read on.
Reason to Celebrate Jagannath Rath Yatra
Myth 1 – Unlike today in ancient time the lower castes and the untouchables were prohibited from entering the temple premises, so to answer the prayers of his devotees The Lord would himself ring out to give a chance to socially outcasts to have a glimpse of their Almighty. Rath is used as metaphor, a manifestation convincing that God arrive at their doorstep.
Myth 2 – Some say that Subhadra ( younger sister of Lord Jagannath) wanted to get out of the palace and see the town. This day both her brothers lord Jagannath ( who is also a form of God Krishna ) and Lord Balabhadra took her out on chariot. Hence in remembrance of this event Jagannath Rath Yatra is celebrated .
Myth 3 – Whereas few mythologists claims that Krishna’s ( Lord Jagannath’s ) evil uncle Kansa plotted against Krishna. He invited both Lord Krishna and Lord Balabhadra to Mathura with the intention of killing them . The day the two brothers left for Mathura is celebrated as Jagannath Rath Yatra.
Lord Jagannath and His Connotation in Hindu Mythology
Lord Jagannath is believed to be the unburnt body of Lord Krishna which came floating through the sea. However built in 12th and 13th century Jagannath became the first deity among the Hindu to be placed inside the temple for the purpose of worshipping. Before this only Buddhists worshipped dietes and Hindu worshipped human form .
This God of ours also has a connection with the Egyptian family. Lord Jagannath has many similarities with AMUN , the powerful creator god of ancient Egypt – both have blue complexion and a feather in their head. In fact the Rath festival also has resemblance with the Grand OPET FESTIVAL or EGYPTIAN CAR FESTIVAL which is celebrated over a period of 24-27 days during the flooding season of river Nile .
Whereas some mythologists liens that the face of Lord Jagannath is bird like, in costume akin to kathakali and chhou dance resembling dietes from Tibet, Bali and Sri Lanka.
Coming back to the festive mood of this massive festival. Over 1 million pilgrims visit Puri ( in Odhisa) during Rath Yatra. Gigantic and florid Rath ( chariots) are made. Lord Jagannath’s Rath is 45.6ft high comprising of 18 wheels and is referred as Nandighosa. Next in line comes Lord Balabhadra’s chariot which is 45 ft high comprising of 16 wheels and is known as Taladhuaja. Last in groove comes Devi Subhadra’s chariot which is 44.6ft high comprising of 14 wheels and is known as Devadalana.
All the chariots are pulled by millions of devotees from main temple to Shri Gundicha Temple (their aunt’s house).
The Prasad, Prasada or Prasadam
A mysterious feature is the ABASHA, the prasad that is cooked miraculously. It is said that the pots are placed one above the other over the fire. What is extraordinary is the fact that the pot that is further most from the fire i.e at the top cooks first. Interesting isn’t it ? 56 types of BHOGs ( foods) are prepared.
Few More Interesting Facts
New chariots are made every year and new idols are created every 12 years . The latest idol created was in 2015.
The Gajapati king cleans and sweeps the dietes and chariot with a gold handled broom.
After Puri the second largest celebration of Rath in Asia takes place in Ranchi where tribals celebrate this day as their Valentine’s days. Ya, u read it write ! It is believed that youngsters unite with their lovers here.
In all, this festival brings bundles of joy for all. Be a part of this mirthful carnivorous celebration.
A very happy Rath Yatra to all. Rejoice!
One who recites of holy feet of Krishna
Worries don’t touch him
Adoring Govinda’s holy feet in heart,
If moves eye shut
If runs without knowing the pathway
That being never falls down.