Ratha Yatra Festival in Jagannath Puri

Rath-Yara-Festival-Puri

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Yesterday, July 10th, marked the start of the annual Ratha Yatra Festival of Lord Jagannatha in Jagannath Puri. Millions of pilgrims visit Jagannath Puri to participate in the Ratha Yatra car festival of Lord Jagannatha. Lord Jagannatha, along with His brother Baladeva and sister Subhadra, travel in gigantic chariots and go to the Gundicha Temple. The previous day of Ratha Yatra (i.e. July 09, 2013) devotees assemble in Gundicha Temple and clean the temple. This event is called as Gundicha Marjana. Lord Jagannath stays in Gundicha temple for a week and then comes back to His own temple. This return journey is called Bahuda Ratha Yatra (July 18, 2013).

In the Brahmanda Purana it is said, “A person who sees the Lord’s Ratha-yatra car festival and then stands up to receive the Lord can purge all kinds of sinful results from his body.” In the Bhavisya Purana, it is said, “Even if born of a lowly family, a person who follows the Ratha-yatra car when the Deities pass in front or from behind will surely be elevated to the position of achieving equal opulence with Visnu.”

In 1967, Srila Prabhupada inaugurated the Ratha Yatra Festival, the Festival of the Chariots, in western countries and thanks to him, today people all over the world observe this festival.

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