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Rath Yatra 2024: Know history, significance, importance and theme

Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra will begin on July 07, 2024, and here’s an overview of its history, significance, importance, and theme.

Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra 2024: Know history, significance, importance and theme RKK
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First Published Jul 4, 2024, 4:56 PM IST

The Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra is a significant Hindu festival and procession that celebrates the annual journey of Lord Jagannath, along with his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra, from the Jagannath Temple to the Gundicha Temple in Puri, Odisha. Here’s an overview of its history, significance, importance, and theme:

History

1. Ancient Origins: The Rath Yatra has ancient roots and is believed to have been celebrated for over a thousand years in Puri. It is mentioned in various Hindu scriptures and texts.
   
2. Legend: According to Hindu mythology, Lord Jagannath (a form of Lord Krishna) desires to visit his birthplace Mathura once a year. This desire is fulfilled symbolically through the Rath Yatra, where the deities travel in grand chariots.

Significance

1. Unity and Equality: The Rath Yatra is known for breaking down barriers of caste, creed, and religion. Devotees from all walks of life participate in pulling the chariots, which symbolizes unity and equality before the divine.

2. Devotional Practice: It is considered highly auspicious to participate in or witness the Rath Yatra. Devotees believe that seeing the deities on the chariots or pulling the ropes grants them blessings and spiritual merit.

3. Spiritual Journey: The journey of the deities from their main temple to the Gundicha Temple and back signifies their annual journey to Vrindavan and back, marking the circle of life and the bond between devotees and the divine.

Also read: Video and photos: Thalapathy Vijay spotted at meet-and-greet event with toppers in Chennai

Importance

1. Cultural Heritage: The Rath Yatra is an integral part of the cultural and religious heritage of Odisha and India. It showcases traditional rituals, music, dance, and art forms.

2. Tourism and Economy: The festival attracts millions of pilgrims and tourists to Puri, contributing significantly to the local economy and promoting tourism in Odisha.

Theme

1. Chariot Procession: The central theme of the Rath Yatra is the grand procession of the three majestic chariots carrying the idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Devi Subhadra.

2. Unity in Diversity: The participation of people from diverse backgrounds in pulling the chariots symbolizes unity and inclusivity in devotion and spirituality.

3. Renewal and Purity: The cleansing of the Jagannath Temple and the idols during the Rath Yatra signifies renewal and purity, both spiritually and physically.

The Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra is not only a grand religious procession but also a vibrant cultural event that celebrates devotion, unity, and the rich traditions of Hinduism. It holds deep spiritual significance for devotees and serves as a major cultural attraction in India.

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