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Puri Rath Yatra 2024: Discover The Intriguing Details Of Jagannath, Balabhadra, & Subhadra's Sacred Chariots

Odisha’s Rath Yatra in Puri stands as one of the most revered festivals, drawing millions of devotees annually. The ongoing 600-year-old Rath Yatra, spanning two days—a rarity since 1971—sees the deities carried in ornate chariots known as Raths, pulled by devotees. Touching the chariot is believed to bring spiritual merit. The Chariots or Raths: Crafted […]

Odisha’s Rath Yatra in Puri stands as one of the most revered festivals, drawing millions of devotees annually. The ongoing 600-year-old Rath Yatra, spanning two days—a rarity since 1971—sees the deities carried in ornate chariots known as Raths, pulled by devotees. Touching the chariot is believed to bring spiritual merit.

The Chariots or Raths: Crafted with Tradition

The Chariots or Raths are annually crafted at Jagannath Puri temple from neem wood sourced from Dasapalla and Ranpur forests. Over 100 artisans fashion each chariot, adorned with vibrant cloth requiring 2,000 meters. According to Rgyan, “Coconut fibre ropes, 8 inches thick, are used by devotees to pull the chariots along.” The chariots feature local craftsmanship with a month’s work dedicated to nails, brackets, and fixtures. Each chariot holds deities and subsidiary figures, all carved from wood.

Distinct Features of Each Chariot

  1. Nandighosh, Lord Jagannath’s Rath
    • Also known as Garudadhwaja or Kapidhwaja, Nandighosh sports a yellow and red canopy, marking it as the largest chariot. It boasts four white horses and displays the Sudarshana Chakra emblem. Garuda is its guardian deity, and Daruka serves as its charioteer. “The chariot’s flag is Trailokyamohini, pulled by Shankahchuda rope,” notes Rgyan. Alongside Lord Jagannath, it carries idols like Varaha, Govardhana, Krishna, Narasimha, Rama, Narayana, Trivikrama, Hanuman, and Rudra.
  2. Devadalana, Goddess Subhadra’s Rath
    • Devadalana features a black and red canopy, distinguishing it as the smallest among the chariots, drawn by four red horses. Jayadurga guards it, with Arjuna as charioteer. The chariot’s flag is Nadambika, pulled by Swarnachuda rope. Besides Subhadra, it houses idols like Chandi, Chamunda, Ugratara, Vanadurga, Shulidurga, Varahi, Shyama Kali, Mangala, and Bimala.
  3. Taladhwaja, Lord Balabhadra’s Rath
    • Taladhwaja boasts a green and red canopy and is the second largest chariot, drawn by four black horses. Unnani serves as its flag, and the Basuki rope pulls it. Vasudev is its guardian deity, with Matali as charioteer. Ketu Bhadra adorns its face, alongside idols like Ganesh, Kartikeya, Sarvamangala, Pralambari, Halayudha, Mrutyunjaya, Natamvara, Mukteshwar, and Sheshadeva.

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BalabhadraPuri Rath Yatra 2024TDGThe Daily Guardian