Ratha Yatra is known as Chariot or car festival. It is one of the most celebrated Hindu festival of the country usually celebrated in the month of June or July. Ratha yatra starts on the second lunar day of Shukla Paksha in the month of Ashadha. This year Ratha Yatra commences on 25th July 2017 on Sunday.
There are several stories behind the origin of this festival. Out of these the most trusted story as per Bhagwat Purana is -
- On this day Kansa, the maternal uncle of Shri Krishna, invited Krishna & Balaram Ji,in order to kill them. Shri Krishna & Balaram left Gokul by the chariot . This day of their departure is celebrated as Ratha Yatra as per Bhagawat Purana(10/39).
- After killing Kansa, Shri Krishna gave darshan to his devotees sitting in a chariot with Balaram ji in Mathura.
Some important facts & believes related to this festival are –
- It is also known as Chariot festival; the name Ratha Yatra itself signifies the procession of chariots.
- During Ratha Yatra, three deities- Krishna, Balaram & Subhadra, sailed out for public view from the temple, seated on huge chariot.
- Two weeks before Ratha yatra, Snana Yatra is celebrated when deities are bathed in public.
- Puri jagannath Temple is considered as most sacred & famous place to celebrate Ratha Yatra. Ratha yatra in Puri is largest & most visited.
- As per texts, lord Krishna – jagannath with his shibling balaram stays 7 days at Gundicha Temple located nearby Jagannath temple & considered as Krishna`s aunt house.
Spiritual Significance of Rath Yatra
It is mentioned in purana that – “Whoever comes to Gundicha temple during Ratha yatra and sees Jagannatha, Balarama and Subhadra will have his mind turned towards Lord Hari. If he sees the Deities while They remain there for seven days on the throne of Gundicha, he will go to Vaikuntha”.