Bihu Chhath Gangaur Goa Carnival Jagannatha Ratha Yatra Kumbh Mela
Onam Pongal Pooram Pushkar Mela Skanda Shasthi Teej
Teej Skanda Shasthi Pushkar Mela Pooram Pongal Onam
Kumbh Mela Jagannatha Ratha Yatra Goa Carnival Gangaur Chhath Bihu


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Jagannatha Ratha Yatra
jagannatha ratha yatra Jagannatha Rath Yatra or the' chariot journey of Lord Jagannatha', observed on the second day of the bright fortnight of the month of Ashadha, is a festival that celebrates the annual visit of the god to his place of birth. The famous Jagannatha Temple at Puri, Orissa is the venue for all celebrations. All those who reside in Puri and others, who come to participate, celebrate this event with devotion and respect. Several lakh people converge at Puri every year to witness this event.

On the morning of the second day of Ashadha, images of the presiding deities of the temple, Jagannatha, his brother Balabhadra and his sister Subhadra, are taken in a chariot to Gundicha Ghar. This is believed to be the birthplace of Jagannatha. On the way, they stop to meet their aunt, who feeds them with padoa pitha, or specially baked rice cakes. After a while, they continue their journey to Gundicha Ghar. They stay there for a week and then return to the temple. On the journey there and back, they are accompanied by a huge procession of people, singing and celebrating. As with royal processions in days gone by, the people rejoice at having a special persona in their midst.

The festival has been celebrated since ancient times, finding mention in the Puranas. According to a legend about its origin, Jagannatha is said to have expressed his desire to visit his birthplace of Gundicha Ghar once every year for a week. Accordingly, the deities are taken to the Gundicha Mandir every year.
According to another legend, Subhadra wanted to visit Dwarka, her parent's home, and her brothers Jagannatha and Balabhadra took her there on this day. The Ratha Yatra is said to be a commemoration of that visit. According to a legend in the Bhagavad Purana, Kansa sent his messenger to Gokul to ask Krishna to visit Mathura and participate in the great wrestling championship. It is believed that it was on this day that Krishna and Balarama went to Mathura to participate in the competition. The Hindus believe that Jagannatha is a form of Krishna and therefore, an incarnation of Vishnu. Since Vishnu has four arms, the images of Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshana are placed a long with Jagannatha to represent Vishnu's four arms.

Each deity has its own massive chariot, which are replicas of the temple. They are made of neem (Azidirachta indica) wood. Jagannatha's chariot is called Nandighosha, is yellow in colour, 45 ft high, 35 ft square, and has 16 wheels, of which each one has a seven-foot diameter. About 4,200 devotees draw the chariot. Balabhadra's chariot is called Taladhvaja, is blue in color and has 14 wheels. Subhadra's chariot is the smallest, with 12 wheels and is called Deviratha. The origin of the chariot ride is somewhat obscure. According to a legend in the Puranas, when the poisonous arrow of Jaras killed Krishna, his body was left under a tree. Later a pious person found the bones cremated it and placed the ashes in a box. Directed by Vishnu, Indradyumna requested the divine artisan Vishvakarma to mould an image from the holy relics. Vishvakarma agreed to undertake the task on condition that he was left undisturbed till its completion. When several years passed without any news from Vishvakarma about the holy idol, Indradyumna became impatient and went to see how his work was progressing. Enraged at this disturbance, the artisan left the image in complete - with a head and body but no hands or feet. In the meanwhile, Indradyumna had ordered the construction of the temple, which was to house the statue. So he ordered his chariot to transport the statue, as it was, to the temple. Once there, Brahma came to the aid of the king and breathed life into the image. He also presided as the chief priest at the consecration. Later myths pertaining to Jagannatha made it obligatory for the statue to be carried once a year to the original birthplace. Since his first journey was by chariot, this became part of the tradition.
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