Rath Yatra, 2024 of Puri, Odisha is a unique one due to rare coincidence of a few rituals after 53 years !!

 The long held tradition has been that  the world renowned Puri Jagannath temple Rath Yatra, the annual journey of the divine trinity takes place during Ashadha Masa, (the third month of the Odia Calendar), on the second day (Dwitiya Tithi) of the waxing phase of the moon. The chariot of Lord Jagannath is believed to be a symbol of 'Sand Sandhini Sakti'; therefore, a touch of the holy structure would confer compassion and energy of the lord on the devotees.

Greetings to Puri Rath yatra,July7, 2024  fabhotels.com

The wooden idols made from Neem tree of Lord Jagannath and his brother and sister - Balabhadra, Subhadra are ceremoniously  taken in three different massive  chariots called Nandighosa, Taladwaja and Padmadhwaja  respectively from the main temple to their aunt's home (birth place) - Gundicha Mata Temple.  After their nine-day sojourn there. with their return journey to the main temple, the Bahuda Yatra the famous festival concludes. The return rath yatra   is fixed on an auspicious day. Both directions, throngs of devotees pull the chariots, in religious fervor, an act considered a sacred one .

Jagannath temple, Puri, Odisha wewishes.com

This year, Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra in Puri is  held on Sunday, July 7. The nine-day festival will conclude with Bahuda Yatra, or the return journey of Lord Jagannath with siblings, on July 16. This year the president of India  Ms. Droupadi Murmu, who  is on a four day visit to this state, other  dignitaries and VIP will be participating  in this  renowned festival which is  the oldest and largest Hindu chariot festival in India. In terms of antiquity, the popular Thyagaraja temple (dedicated to Lord Shiva)  Azhi Ther festival of Tiruvarur, Tamil Nadu comes closer. This Azhi Ther (chariot) is the largest and heaviest one weighing about 400 to 500 tons, including the decorated canopy. 

This  Rath Yatra will be a special occasion for devotees due to a rare occurrence after 53 years. This year Netrotsav, Nabajoubana Darshan and Ratha Yatra fall on the same day and this rare combination occurs again after 1971. 

Wooden idol of Puri temple, Odisha.bhagwanjiphotos.com

Above image; Half-completed wooden idols of Puri Jagannath temple, Odisha. Unlike other Hindu temples across India, this popular temple (dedicated to God Sri Vishnu)  does not have stone or bronze idols in the sanctum (garbhagriha). On the three chariots during the rath yatra, the wooden idols of Sri Krishna, his brother Balabhadra and sister Goddess Subhadra from the sanctum are taken out to the  Gundicha Mata Temple............. 

Netrotsav and Nabajoubana Darsha rituals refer to the reappearance of  Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra after isolation for 15 days, known as ‘Anasara’, following Snana Purnima.  Also, this year yet  another rare combination is the Anasara period will be for 13 days instead of 15 days as it has been a convention at Puri Jagannath temple..

On account of this rare occurrence this year, the agyanmala for chariots will be brought from Pati Dian rather than the deities, while other rites will adhere to as per the 1971 schedule.

The King of Puri, Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb, will perform the customery Chhera Pahanra ritual at 4 pm, followed by devotees pulling the chariots at 5 pm.

The District and the temple administration are busy with stringent  security measures, crowd management, sanitation, etc., with special posse of police as it is for one of the largest religious congregations at Puri in the world