Jagannath Rath Yatra: A Guide For Those Visiting Puri’s Festival The First Time

by Shreya Ghosh
Jagannath Rath Yatra: A Guide For Those Visiting Puri’s Festival The First Time

We are only a month away from Odisha’s biggest festival ‘Jagannath Rath Yatra’, starting on 1 July 2022. The preparations for constructing the majestic chariots for the holy trinity ‘Lord Jagannath’, ‘Devi Subhadra’, and ‘Lord Balabhadra’ are going in full swing. This is indeed the best time to travel to Puri to enjoy a lovely beach vacation and witness the famous Jagannath Rath Yatra and offer your prayers to the holy trinity. So if you are a first-timer to this grand celebration, then here is a guide for you.

Shri Jagannatha Temple Puri

The world-famous Jagannath Temple of Puri is the home to Lord Jagannath and his elder brother Balabhadra and younger sister Subhadra. It is a 12th century temple and one of the most prominent temples in the state. The massive gates in the four directions, humongous walls, shrines, Arun Stambha, and so much more come together to the entire temple. It seems like a 365-day festival here because of the festivals and rituals to worship the lords. However, Jagannath Rath Yatra is the most eminent, renowned, and celebrated festival.

Also read: 5 Stunning Road Trips To Take In Odisha

Jagannath Rath Yatra
Image Credit- Wikimedia Commons

Guide To the Jagannath Puri Yatra

This time of the year is not only the celebration inside the temple. This is a grand time for the people of Puri, Odisha, and the tourists visiting here from all around. The idols will be placed on three different beautifully decorated chariots and will be taken to the Gundicha Temple by the Grand Road. The idols will stay at the Gundicha Temple for some time and then return back to the main temple. The first day of the 9-days long festival is the most auspicious day of all. People try their very best just to get a glimpse of Lord Jagannath travelling by his chariot. Anywhere you look, all you will see are uncountable devotees, the crowd trying to pull the rope of the chariots.

Also read: 5 Ancient Temples In Odisha That Will Make You Swoon With Their History 

The Crowd Is Unbelievable

Before the celebrations begin, the preparation starts 2 weeks back with ‘snanyatra’. Snanyatra is a bathing ritual of the idols and this year it will take place on 14 June 2022. According to stories, the idols fall sick after this ritual and hence they stay in solitude. Meanwhile, the Shri Jagannatha Temple is closed to tourists during this time. The crowd increases every day and the whole place gets filled with chanting, music, and devotees praying to the holy trinity.

Tourists can easily book a train to reach Puri as tickets are easily available. If you are reaching here by flight, then the nearest airport is Biju Patnaik International Airport (Bhubaneswar). The distance from the airport to Puri is almost 65km. The most important thing to do for Jagannath Rath Yatra is to book tickets and hotels way ahead. The crowd is immense at this time and getting tickets and hotels in Puri just a few days back is nearly impossible.