The Managing Committee of Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri, recommended construction of chariots used in the annual rath yatra, but uncertainty continued to prevail over holding the mega festival scheduled for June 24.
As per tradition, construction of three majestic chariots for deities — Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra — begins from the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya.
Puri rath yatra
Ratha Jatra(also called as Car Festival or Chariot Festival) is a Hindu festival associated with Lord Jagannath held at Puriin the state of Odisha, India.
It is the oldestRatha Yatrataking place in India and the World, whose descriptions can be found in Brahma Purana, Padma Purana, and Skanda Purana and Kapila Samhita.
This annual festival is celebrated on Ashadha Shukla Paksha Dwitiya (second day in bright fortnight of Ashadha month).
The festival commemorates Jagannath's annual visit to Gundicha Temple via Mausi Maa Temple(maternal aunt's home) near Saradha Bali,Puri.
As part of Ratha Yatra, the deities Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Lord Balabhadraand younger sister Devi Subhadra, along with Sudarshan, are taken out in a procession out of the main shrine of Jagannath Temple and placed in the Ratha (Chariot) which are ready in front of the Templ, this process is called as 'Pahandi'.
The procession starts with 'Madan Mohan' then 'Sudarshana' Balabhadra, Subhadra, and Jagannath Deva.
After that, Gajapati Maharaja, the king of Puri, who is also known as the first servitor of the Lords, does 'Chhera Pahanra' (the holy cleaning of the chariots).
Finally, the devotees pull the chariots up to the Gundicha Temple, which is also known as the birthplace of the Lords.
Once the deities reach the Gundicha temple, in the onward car festival, they are taken inPahandiand installed on the holy platform, called Ratna Simhasan.
The Lords remain at the Gundicha Temple for nine days.
The return journey or return car festival of Puri Jagannath Ratha Jatra is known as Bahuda Yatraor Punar Yatra (also called as Jatra).
Three richly decorated chariots, resembling temple structures, are pulled through the streets of Puri called Badadanda.
This commemorates the annual journey of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and their sister Devi Subhadra to their aunt's temple, the Gundicha Temple which is situated at a distance of over 3 km from the main temple.
The Rathacarts are 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 (Neem).