The Rath Yatra is the most awaited occasion for the Odiya people staying in Odisha and across India and abroad. Jagannath Rath Yatra is celebrated with gaiety in Puri, and not only Puri people, but people across the state, country, and foreigners feel blessed to have the darshan of Lord Jagannath. Puri Rath Yatra 2023 begins on 20th June and continues till 1st July. 

Lord Jagannath's Chariot - Nandighosha, Lord Balabhadra's chariot - Taladhwaja, and Goddess Subhadra's chariot - Devadalana (

Lord Jagannath’s Chariot – Nandighosha, Lord Balabhadra’s chariot – Taladhwaja, and Goddess Subhadra’s chariot – Devadalana

The journey from the Jagannath Temple in Puri to the Gundicha Devi Temple, which takes place during the Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra, is indeed a significant event in Hindu tradition. The festival usually takes place in the month of Ashada, specifically on the second day of the new moon. Only once a year, these are the only deities who come out to meet their devotees and shower their blessings.

Significance of Rath Yatra

In May, the three deities, Lord Jagannath, Goddess Subhadra, and Lord Balabhadra enjoy their ritualistic bath, after which they fall ill and are isolated inside the temple, for which the temple is closed for those days. Once they recover from the fever and become well, they get ready to visit their mausi (aunty’s) home, Gudicha Temple, for a nine-day vacation.

The three chariots in front of Puri Jagannath Temple

The three chariots in front of Puri Jagannath Temple (News18)

On June 23rd, the three deities – Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Lord Balabhadra, and sister Goddess Subhadra are taken out of the Jagannath Temple and placed on three enormous chariots. Once the deities are placed on the chariot, the King of Puri sweeps the steps of chariots with a gold broom, sprinkles sandalwood water, and beautifies the floor with flowers. This well-known ritual is known as Cheera Pahara

These chariots are constructed anew each year and are pulled by thousands of devotees through the streets of Puri to the Gundicha Temple, which is situated about 2.5 kilometers away from the Jagannath Temple. Once they reach the Gundicha temple by evening 6 pm, they stand outside in their chariots so that devotees can come and meet them and offer prayers.

The next day, they are welcomed to their aunty’s home. Lord Jagannath, Goddess Subhadra, and Lord Balabadhra have a happy time at his maternal aunt’s home before going back to the Jagannath Temple, where they enjoy having varieties of sweets. 

Three Chariots of Puri Rath Yatra 2023

All three chariots are constructed from wood and painted by local craftsmen. The largest of the three, with 16 enormous wheels and a height of 44 feet, belongs to Lord Jagannath. Goddess Subhadra’s chariot has 12 wheels and is 42 feet tall, whereas Lord Balabhadra’s chariot has 14 wheels and is 43 feet tall. People rush to help draw the chariots because they believe that doing so will reward them with good actions and make up for their mistakes. They are pulled manually by 50-meter-long ropes. Lord Balaram’s chariot is drawn first at Rath Yatra in Puri, then Goddess Subhadra’s, and finally Lord Jagannath’s.

People in huge crowd visit Puri for Rath Yatra procession

People in huge crowds visit Puri for the Rath Yatra procession (Edudwar)

Bahuda Yatra

The three deities leave from Gundicha Temple and embark on their Bahuda Yatra, or ten-day pilgrimage, back to Lord Jagannath Temple. The return yatra will take place on June 28, 2023. On the tenth day of the Ashadha month, the return rath yatra begins.

Annual Retreat of Lord Jagannath, Goddess Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra at decorated Shri Gundhicha (Indica Today)

Annual Retreat of Lord Jagannath, Goddess Subhadra, and Lord Balabhadra at decorated Shri Gundhicha (Indica Today)

Once they return outside the Puri temple, Suna Besha is celebrated where the deities are decorated with gold, and devotees visit them for darshan. 

Suna Bhesa ceremony celebration of Lord Balabhadra, Goddess Subhadra, and Lord Jagannath

Suna Bhesa ceremony celebration of Lord Balabhadra, Goddess Subhadra, and Lord Jagannath (India TV News)

The following ceremony marks Lord Jagannath’s homecoming with his siblings from the Raths to the main temple in Goti Pahandi, known as the Niladri Bije

Niladri Bije ceremony also known as Rasagola Dibasa in Puri

Niladri Bije ceremony when Lord Jagannath has to convince his wife with rasgullas to get inside the Puri Temple (Kalinga TV)

The Rath Yatra 2023 is a highly significant and popular festival in India and attracts millions of devotees and tourists from all over the country and the world. The festival holds great religious and cultural importance and is an example of the vibrant traditions and rituals associated with Hinduism.

Watch the momentous Annual Puri Rath Yatra 2023 Live Telecast on OTV Odiya and DD Odiya from June 20 to July 1 in Puri town.

Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra 2023 is certainly going to be religiously celebrated in an amazing way as devotees across India and across the world seek blessings of the Trinity – Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra, and Lord Balabhadra. Happy Rath Yatra! May Lord Jagannath bless us all!, pub-3862145386704795, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 InterServer Web Hosting and VPS

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Sanghamitra Roychoudhary