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Thread: Details of Sri-kshetra-Puri Rathayatra

  1. #1
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    October 2009
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    Details of Sri-kshetra-Puri Rathayatra

    In the month of ashada Jagannath dev steps out of his royal palace onto the streets of Puri in what is known as the chariot festival of puri -- rathayatra .

    The collection of wood for these rathas start on the auspicious day of vasanta panchami on the month of magha . The woods are brought from ranapur forest in the dashapaallaa district of orissa . Then on the day of akhshaya tritiya in the month of vaishakha the construction of these rathas begin . They are completed on the day of jagannath netrotsav or the day on which the eyes of jagannath are repainted after sananayatra . The three rathas are constructed by a particular class of men who aqquires this right from their forefathers .


    The name of the ratha of jagannatha is nandighosh . It stands tall at the height of 45 foot . 832 peices of wood go into its construction . The dwhaja or flag at its top is named trailakyamohini . The ratha has chakra or garuda deva at its top thereby gaining its name chakradhwaja or garudadhwaja . The two dwarpala or door gaurds of this ratha are brahmaa and indra . The other presiding deities for this ratha are varaha , govardhan , gopikrishna , nrisimha , rama , naarayan , trivikrama , hanuman and rudra . This ratha has 16 wheels representing the shodasha-kala or 16 artforms . Each wheel is 7 foot in diameter . The ratha is coloured red and yellow . The protector of this ratha is sri nrisimha natha . The sarathi or charioteer is named matali . The four horses are named samkha , valaataka , sweta and haridrakhsha and are white in colour . Apart form the surrounding dieties there are some rishis in this ratha . They are narada , devala , vyasadeva , sukadeva , parashara , vashishta , vishwamitra and maarichi . The rope that is used to pull this chariot is called samkhachuda and the kalasa or pitcher below the topmost flag is named hiranmay .


    The name of this ratha is taaladhwaja or haladwaja and is 47 foot high. It is constructed from 763 pieces of wood . The colour of this ratha is red and green . The flag is named unamini and there are two parakeets beside the kalasha named swadha and vishwasa . The surrounding deities in this ratha are ganesha , kartika , sarvamangala , pralamva , halayudha , mrityunjay , naateswar , maheshwar and sheshadeva . Each wheel is 6 foot in diameter and there is 14 wheels in total symbolising chaturdasha bhuvan or fourteen worlds . The protector of this ratha is sri sheshaavatar . The sarathi is named daaruk and there are four black horses by the name of tivra , ghora , srama , dirgha .


    The ratha of devi subhadara is called dwarpadalan ,devidalan , deviratha or padmadhwaja . It is 43 foot high and each wheel is 6 foot in diameter . This ratha needs 593 peices of wood fro her construction . The flag of this ratha is caled naadamvik . The two birds beside the flag are called sruti and smriti . The colour of the ratha is red and black . The surrounding deites are chandi , chamunda , ugratara , vanadurga , shulidurga , shyamaakaali , mangala , vaarahi and vimala . They are accompanied by their respective bhairavas . There are four wheels of this ratha which symbolises the twelve months . The protector of this ratha is sri vanadurga . the sarathi is arjuna . The four horses are black in colour and are named rachika , mochika , jita and aparaajitaa . Subhadra's ratha carries the sudarshana .

    Each of these rathas are divided into 38 sections . Starting from the base towards the top they are named as follows :


    The dieties are slowly brought to the ratha in their characteristic slow motion which is locally called pahandi vijaya . The term originates from the sanskrit word padahundan meaning slow small steps . The responsibility of bringing the dieties to their respective rathas is entrusted to a particular class of non brahmin men called dayita-pati . They are local people of tribal caste and vishwavasu clan .

    In ancient days the king used to appoint a special class of labourers to pull the rathas . They were named kallabathiya and were donated with tax free lands to meet with their living expenses in return of their service at the temple once a year . The records of 1848 shows that 4200 of such men were employed in pulling these rathas . However with a gradual increase in number of pilgrims , with the increase in transport facilities their requirements gradually decreased .

    The rathayatra commences only after the king of puri performs his service to bhagavan in form of sweeping the ratha with scented water and flower petals , which is called chheraa pahraa .

    When the ratha arrives at balagandi which is midway to the final destination the rathas stop for his rest . The deities are bathed in mirror reflection with panchamrita and scented water . Then the sevaks apply perfumed oils and sandal paste to help him cool off . Next he is offered various cooling drinks and fruits such as coconut , dates and sweets . This is called balgandi bhoga .

    After this the rathas are finally drawn to their destination of gundicha mandir .


    Every 12 years jagannath deva changes his form which is know as navakalevara . This takes place usually after every twelve years but more specifically in the month of ashada with two purnimaas . The last navakalebara was in 1996 .

    In the begining the brahmins visit the mangala devi temple in kaakatpura . After worshipping her duely and asking for her blessings the dayitapatis , royal purohit and learned brahmanas set off to find out the suitable tree .

    It must be a neem or margosa tree and it must have certain auspicious signs on it . The tree of jagannath deva should be slightly dark in colour , the one of balarama should be slightly whitish and of subhadra it should be reddish . The trees must have the auspicious signs of samkha chakraa gada and padma . They must have three , five or seven branches and must not have nest of birds on it . The leaves must not be exccessively bitter but should have a pleasant taste . They must be situated at the confluence of three roads or on the banks of a river . After finding out the suitable trees a yagna is performed for three days at its base . Then the tree is first struck with a gold axe followed by a silver axe and finally by a iron axe . The leaves are then stripped off and buried in a trench . Then the logs are covered with clothes and decorated with flower garlands and finally brought to the temple of devi mangala . The bullock carts used to transport the logs must be newly constructed from banyan or bilwa wood and must have four wheels . From the mangala temple they are brought to the temple at puri and the local villagers often pull the carts themselves to their destination.

    In this way the puri rathaytra is carried on every year with ever increasing devotion and participation . Jagannath deva jayatu !!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    December 2009
    South Africa-Johannesburg
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    Re: Details of Sri-kshetra-Puri Rathayatra

    JAI JAGANATH Dear Sambya,

    Thanks for the interesting info ! u mind if i copy it to some one ? what are the ref for this ?

  3. #3
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    October 2009
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    Re: Details of Sri-kshetra-Puri Rathayatra

    feel free to copy .

  4. #4

    Re: Details of Sri-kshetra-Puri Rathayatra

    Jai Jaganath
    Jai Shri Krsna - Balram and Subadhra Devi



    Om Saha Nau-Avatu |
    Saha Nau Bhunaktu |
    Saha Viiryam Karava-Avahai |
    Tejasvi Nau-Adhii-Tam-Astu Maa Vidviss-Aavahai |
    Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

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