New Delhi: The most revered annual Rath Yatra at Odisha’s Puri Jagannath Temple has started today (July 1). The chariot festival dedicated to Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra attracts thousands of devotees across the globe to visit the temple town of Puri in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak in 2020, the devotees were not allowed to participate in the Rath Yatra but now after two years, once again Lord Jagannath bhakts are elated to seek the darshan of their deity as preparations are in full swing. In 2020 and 2021, only servitors took part in rituals due to the pandemic.
This year, keeping the large gathering in view, wearing masks has been made mandatory by the administration. “We are expecting a large congregation during the festival this year. Mask is mandatory in Puri during the festival. Health camps will be set up at the railway station, bus stand and Grand Road (Bada Danda),” Director of Health Service Bijay Mohapatra told PTI.
Covid Care Centres with oxygen and ICU beds are in place, the official told. He also added that people with symptoms should avoid visiting the town, as caution should be maintained to check the spread of the virus.
Ratha Yatra on Friday, July 1, 2022
Dwitiya Tithi Begins – 10:49 AM on Jun 30, 2022
Dwitiya Tithi Ends – 01:09 PM on Jul 01, 2022
(according to drikpanchang.com)
In the Rath Yatra, the three chariots used to carry the Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra (sister) are different in size and other detailing. The chariots are beautifully and intrinsically designed and painted every year.
Ratha Yatra commemorates Lord Jagannatha’s annual visit to Gundicha Mata temple. It is believed that in order to pay their respects to Queen Gundicha, wife of the legendary King Indradyumna, who built the Puri Jagannatha temple, Lord Jagannatha along with brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra leave their regular abode from the main temple and spend some time in this temple built by Gundicha in their honour.
As per drikpanchang.com, it is said that after the Lord Jagannath along with his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra take a rest for 8 days at Gundicha Mata Temple, they set out on their return Jatra to the main abode. This day is known as Bahuda Yatra or Return Yatra, observed on the eighth day after Ratha Yatra on Dashami Tithi. On his return, the Lord also stops at Mausi Maa Temple which is dedicated to Goddess Ardhashini.