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Ratha Yatra

Ratha Yatra

When gods descend on earth!

Ratha-yatra is derived two Sanskrit words, Ratha which means chariot or carriage, and yatra which means journey or pilgrimage. Celebrated with full fervour at the Jagannath Temple in Puri, a large number of devotees gather for the Ratha Yatra so that they can witness Lord Jagannath's yearly journey in his huge chariot. Perhaps the only deity to be brought out of the temple every year, Lord Jagannath, with his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra, goes to his garden house for five days, visiting his aunt on the way. At the end of the five days, the three siblings are brought back to the Jagannath temple in a procession called the Ultarath.

Since the portals of the Jagannath temple allow entry only to Hindus, one of the gods, Maitri Devta, who symbolizes universal brotherhood, steps outside during this time so people of all religions and castes can pay their respects. A spiritual ambience pervades the whole scene as bells chime; conch shells blow and the saffron robed sadhus dance with abandon, making it a truly unforgettable experience.

The Rath Yatra takes places every year in July, which according to the Indian solar calendar,  falls two days after the new moon day of the month of Asadh.

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