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1-min read

Puri Ratha Yatra Festival 2019: Everything You Need to Know

This year, the Ratha Yatra is set take place from July 4 to July 15, which, according to traditional Odia calendar, falls on the second day of Shukla Paksha of the Hindu lunar month of Ashadha.

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Updated:July 4, 2019, 9:17 AM IST
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Puri Ratha Yatra Festival 2019: Everything You Need to Know
Devotees throng Puri for Rath Yatra today. (Image: Twitter/@ANI)
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Rath Yatra 2019 | The annual Ratha Yatra in Puri commemorates Lord Jagannath’s visit to his birthplace, Gundicha Temple. It is believed that he also visits his aunt’s home with his siblings, Balabhadra and Subhadra on the occasion.

This year, the Ratha Yatra is set take place from July 4 to July 15, which, according to traditional Odia calendar, falls on the second day of Shukla Paksha of the Hindu lunar month of Ashadha. Each year, three new chariots called Nandighosha, Taladhwaja, and Devadalana are built from scratch for the festival by a team of around 1,400 volunteering carpenters.

Once every nine to 19 years, when the month of Ashadha is followed by another month of Ashadha (known as "double-Ashadha"), a Nabakalebar ritual takes place.

Nabakalebara, which translates to ‘new body’, refers to when the wooden temple idols from the previous year are replaced with new ones. In the last century, the ritual was performed in 1912, 1931, 1950, 1969, 1977, 1996, and 2015.

The new idols are crafted from neem wood from specially chosen trees. According to scriptures, the tree is chosen subject to its number of branches, color and location. These are secretly brought back to Jagannath temple in wooden carts. Then a special team of carpenters is made to look after the carving process. They carve the idols inside the temple in a delicate manner. This practice is known as Koili Baikuntha. While the new idols are carved, Vedas sings devotional songs.

Important ritual days and dates that one needs to keep in mind during this year are Sri Gundicha- July 4, Hera Panchami- July 8, Bahuda Yatra- July 12, Suna Besha- July 13 and Niladri Bijaya- July 15.

If one is planning to attend the Ratha Yatra, they should be careful of the risk of getting lost in the immense crowd. Some safety measures that need to be taken care of are staying hydrated, keeping medicine kit for injuries and wearing loose, summer friendly clothes for remaining cool.

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