New Delhi, Jagannath Rath Yatra 2023: Jagannath Rath Yatra festival is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, his sister Goddess Subhadra and his elder brother Lord Balabhadra or Balarama. Jagannath Rath Yatra is widely celebrated and is one of the biggest festivals of India where lakhs of devotees participate in the Rath Yatra and seek the blessings of Lord Jagannath.
History of Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra
Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra is organized in Puri, Odisha. Various religious-mythological beliefs are associated with this journey, some of which are as follows: Kansa, the maternal uncle of Lord Krishna and Balarama, invited Mathura to kill him. Kansa sent Akrura with his chariot to Gokul. Lord Krishna and Balarama sat on the chariot and left for Mathura. Lord Jagannath Devotees celebrated this day of departure as “Rath Yatra”.
According to another belief, this Rath Yatra festival (Jagannath Rath Yatra 2023) is associated with Lord Krishna, Balarama and Subhadra in Dwarka. Once, the wives of Lord Krishna wanted to hear some divine tales related to Krishna and Gopi from Mother Rohini or to know about Rasleela. But the mother was not ready to tell the story. After a long request, she agreed but on the condition that Subhadra would guard the door so that no one else would hear it or enter.
Supreme Court dismissed petitions seeking permission for Rath Yatran 2023
Supreme Court dismissed petitions seeking permission for Rath Yatra 2023in several other parts of Odisha. The Odisha government has given permission for Rath Yatra only in Puri Jagannath Temple. The Supreme Court said that we hope that God will allow the Rath Yatra next year.
The Supreme Court justifies the government’s order of Rath Yatra in Puri (Jagannath Rath Yatra 2023) with restrictions. In the rest, worship is allowed only inside the temple. The Chief Justice hearing the case said that I also want to go to Puri. Hope next year God will allow to complete all the rituals. Curfew will remain in Odisha, it is forbidden to see the journey even from the roof This year the annual Rath Yatra festival will take place without crowd of devotees and they will not be allowed to watch the rituals even from the roofs en route to the chariot. Puri District Magistrate Samarth Verma said that the administration has reviewed its decision and restrictions have also been imposed on viewing the Rath Yatra scene from the roofs of houses and hotels.
He said that a day before the festival to be held on July 12, curfew would be imposed in Puri city which would be in effect till noon the next day. Verma said that this festival of Lord Balabhadra, Goddess Subhadra and Lord Jagannath is being celebrated for the second consecutive year without the participation of devotees due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He appealed to the people of the city to watch live telecast of the festival on television.
Odisha Government’s Rath Yatra 2023 Slogan
Odisha Government’s Rath Yatra 2023 Slogan – Ghare Rukuntu Sustha Ruhantu means stay at home, stay healthy Odisha government’s chief spokesperson Subroto Bagchi on Covid-19 said, the example of Lord Jagannath’s isolated abode is well accepted by the people and it keeps him indoors. The state government has also coined a slogan – Ghare Rukuntu Sustha Ruhantu (Stay at home, stay healthy).
He encouraged people to go to separate habitats if they were found infected with Covid-19 and said that Anasar (isolated habitat) is an important part of Odia culture and tradition. Isolation means restricting the movement of the infected so that the infection does not spread to others.
Ten Unknown Facts related to Lord Rama & Rath Yatra
While the stories were being narrated by Rohini Maa, Subhadra also got lost in the story that meanwhile Lord Krishna and Balarama reached the door and Subhadra tried to stop them by standing in their midst. At that time sage Narada arrived and seeing the three brothers and sisters together, he prayed to all three of them to give their blessings forever and requested to give divine darshan. The gods accepted Narada’s wish. Therefore, in the temple of Jagannath Puri, these three (Balabhadra, Subhadra and Krishna ji) are seen in this form.
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According to another legend, in Dwarka, devotees celebrated the day when Lord Krishna, accompanied by Balarama, took Subhadra along with his sister in a chariot to show the beauty of the city. The idols of all the three Gods are taken from Jagannath temple to Gundicha temple. These idols are kept in decorative chariots with chants and conch shells.
Before the Rath Yatra, the deities have a ritual bathing ceremony, which is known as Snana Purnima. Till the day of Rath Yatra, the deities are kept separate as it is believed that they have become ill after bathing in cold water and hence do not give darshan to anyone. This event is known as Anasara.
On the first day of the Rath Yatra (Jagannath Rath Yatra 2023), the ritual of Chhera Pahara is performed, under which the journey route and the chariots are cleaned with a gold broom by Gajapati Maharaj of Puri. It is said that every person is equal before the Lord. Therefore a king also acts as a cleaner. Let us tell you here that this ritual takes place twice during the Yatra. Once when the Yatra is taken to the Gundicha Temple and the second time when the Yatra is brought back to the Jagannath Temple. In this ritual, the king brings the deities from the temple and they are made to sit on the chariot.
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Devotees drag these big chariots three kilometers on the main road, to the ‘Vatika Griha’ of the deities, the house of their aunt, Gundicha. The deities stay with them for a week. It is believed that during this time, Goddess Lakshmi gets angry with her husband for leaving herself behind, and in anger destroys the chariot of Lord Jagannath. This ritual is known as Hera Panchami, in which ‘Hera,’ means to seek or to find.
After this, the three brothers and sisters come out of their aunt’s house and set out on ‘Bahuda Yatra’ i.e. return journey. Awaiting his arrival, his devotees welcome the Lord to the Shrimandir. The deities assume a gold-laden form after accepting all the offerings brought by their devotees. This short darshan is a symbol of his homecoming. However, Lord Jagannath is still not allowed to enter his house. It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi is still angry with her Lord. So they close the door and don’t let them in. Lord Jagannath tries to convince them and apologizes to them. After persistent requests, the goddess allows him to enter her house. The journey ends with the Niladri Beej, which symbolizes the return of the deities to the sanctum.
Significance of Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra
Lord Jagannath is considered one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Every year, Rath Yatra is celebrated by the devotees. It is said that any devotee who joins this yatra with a sincere heart and with full devotion, he attains salvation posthumously. They get out of this life-death cycle. It also destroys the sins that may have been committed intentionally or unintentionally. Lakhs of devotees from all over the world take part in this journey. The atmosphere is very pure and beautiful during the time of Rath Yatra. Devotees play drums along with the chariot, chanting mantras. Jagannath Rath Yatra is also famous as Gundicha Yatra, Rath Festival, etc. Yatra.