Rath Yatra or more commonly known as Jagnnath Rath Yatra is a Holy festival of Hindus celebrated every year in the Puri district of Odisha in India. Every year lakhs of tourists from India as well as from different parts of the world visit Puri to celebrate this festival. This Rath Yatra is considered as the oldest Rath Yatra not only in India but all over the world. This Rath Yatra is dedicated to the deities – Lord Jagannath, Lord Balbhadra and Lordess Subhadra.
DESCRIPTION OF THE FESTIVAL :-
This festival is celebrated annually on Ashadha Shukla Paksha Dwitiya i.e., on the second day of the bright fortnight of Ashadha month according to the Hindu calender. The deities of the Jagnnath temple, Puri main temple – Jagannath, Lord Balbhadra and Lordess Subhadra are placed on their chariots from their respective positions in the temple. These chariots are built and decorated every year. The devotees of Jagnnath built these chariots.
The Rath Yatra starts from Jagnnath Temple and the first destination of it is Gundicha Temple named after King Indradyuman’s Queen. The chariot of Lord Jagnnath (named Nandighosa) waits for a while to pay tribute to Bhakta Salabega at his crematorium which is situated on the way of Rath Yatra.
This place has a story related to saving of Jagnnath Temple from the revenge of Ocean by the grace of Shri Kabir Saheb Ji. He had promised to Kaal that he will be going to save the Jagnnath Temple from the Ocean at any cost and he eventually succeeded in his efforts and saved the Jagnnath Temple.
SUNA BESHA :-
Suna Besha is the ceremony organized after the chariots of all the deities return back to the main temple after staying for about a week at the Gundicha Temple. In this ceremony, they are worshiped on the chariot and attired in gold ornaments. This ceremony started way back in 1460 by the King Kapilendra Deb when he returned victorious from the war and donate gold to the Jagnnath Temple.
Lord Jagannatha returns to his main abode just before Devshayani Ekadashi and after the completion of Suna Besha, Lord Jagannatha goes to sleep for four months.