Rath Yatra | Odisha’s carnival at Puri

Rath Yatra is the annual chariot festival that takes place in Puri, Odisha. Each year more than 10 lakhs people gather at Puri to celebrate Rath Yatra. This festival is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, who is a form of Lord Vishnu. The chariots of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are pulled from the main temple to the Gundicha temple through badadanda. The raths are beautifully decorated with flowers and flags. It is said that if you even just touch the sacred ropes through which raths are pulled all your sins would be washed away.

How to reach Puri?

The nearest airport is Bhubaneswar airport. It is around 65 km from Puri. Rentals, Ola and Uber are available. Puri has its own railway station. It has very well railway connectivity to rest of India. For getting around in Puri auto rickshaws are the best option.

Hotels in Puri

Book hotels near the main venue of the Rath Yatra only. 

Some hotels nearby are:

1. Hotel holiday resort
2. Hans Coco Palm
3. Mayfair waves
4. Hotel Gandhara
5. Hotel Sands Bay
6. Somnath Resthouse
7. Hotel Gangotri

Transportation in Puri

Be prepared to walk if you are traveling during Rath Yatra. The entire road from main Jagannath temple to Gundicha temple is filled with crowd. 

Pointers for your trip during Rath Yatra
  • Do your hotel booking beforehand (at least 2 months) and stay as close to the temple as possible. The roads are fully crowded and it will save you some travel time.
  • Don’t carry valuable items with you like money and jewellery. There is a chance of getting mugged in the crowd.
  • If you want to join pulling of the chariots, it’s better to join on the second day as on the first day the crowd is huge.
  • Always be aware and avoid the situation that could trigger a stampede.
  • If possible book a Rath yatra package with the hotel you are staying so you can have proper darshan of the deities.
  • Carry raincoats and umbrellas as there is a good chance it would rain.
  • Reach the temple early in the morning by 6 am to witness the beautiful sight of Lord being carried from the altar to the Rath.
  • Stick to your group so that you don’t get lost in the crowd.
Description of the festival

Rath Yatra is celebrated every year in the month of June and July. It starts with the festival of Akshaya Tritiya when the making of chariots for the deities start. Next comes the Snana yatra in which all the deities are given a bad to be relieved from the heat of the hot summers. Due to this deities fall sick and the Anavasara period starts. During this time no one is allowed inside the temple. 

Just two days before Rath Yatra, the Navajaubana darshan takes place in which the deities come out of their sickness.

On the day of Rath Yatra the King of Puri, the royal descendant sweeps the chariot with a broom having a golden handle. He also decorates the raths. This is known as Chhera Pahara.

Next, the Pahandi Vijaya takes places in which Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra are carried to their respective chariots Nandighosa, Taladhawaja, and Darpadalana. The deities are carried on Chariots from main Jagannath temple to the Gundicha temple through the Bada danda. The distance is roughly 3 km. 

On reaching the Gundicha temple, the deities reside there for 9 days. Darshan is allowed here inside the temple.

After 9 days the deities return back the same way in Bahuda Yatra.

Places nearby

1. Puri beach
2. Konkark Sun temple
3. Chandrabhaga Beach
4. Ramchandi Beach
5. Chilika Lake
6. Pipili village 

Conclusion 

I hope the above information answers all your queries about how to plan your trip during the famous Rath Yatra hassle-free. Feel free to reach out if you want any more information.

Jai Jagannath !

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