Email: info@mokshatourism.com     MO: +092 666 55 444

Festivals in puri

There are many festivals are observed in the Jagannath Puri, some of the important festivals are Chandan Yatra, Ratha Yatra (Car Festival), Dola Yatra, Jhulana Yatra, Snan Yatra, Gosani Yatra, Nabakalebar and many other festivals relating to Rama, Krishna, Durga, Ganesh and Sun God are also observed in the Lord Jagannatha Temple as the lord himself is the embodiment of all Demi Gods. Out of these festivals Car Festival and Nabakalebar are two most important festivals in Puri.



RATH YATRA (Car Festival)

The Car Festival is held on the 2nd day of the bright fortnight of Asadha (June-July). It continues for 9days i.e. from the 2nd day of the bright fortnight of Asadha to 10th day of the bright fortnight. The 2nd day is known as Sri Gundicha, when the deities are brought from the main temple in a procession called Pahandi to the cars and are pulled down to the Gundicha Temple by the devotees. On the 10th day the devotees are returned to the main temple sitting on their respective cars being taken in a procession from Gundicha Temple which is called Bahuda.

The cars of the deities in which they travel are designed in a specific style. Every year new logs of wood are procured from Daspalla forest for the construction of cars. The construction starts from the 3rd day of the bright fortnight of Baisakha (May) and are completed a day before the car festival. They are built by a specific skilled group of carpenters, who are well trained as per their family tradition.

The name of the car of Ballabhadra is Taladhwaja, Subhadra Devadalana and Jagannath Nandighosh. The style of cars is the same as that of main temple. On the day of Car Festival the Cars/Rathas are consecrated by the Temple Priest. The deities after morning meals are ascended to the cars by colorful procession called Pahandi Bije. After they seated in the cars. The King of Puri performs the sweeping ceremony in the chariots holding golden broom sticks and sprinking sandle paste water after cleaning. Then horses are tied in the cars the color of horses on Balabhdra car is Black, Subhadra is Red and Jagannath is White. The ropes are also tied to the cars and devotees are allowed to draw the chars with chanting of Hari’s Name, bitting of drums, trumpet and ghanta. The cars are pulled down to Gundicha Temple.

It is said that one can get the benefit of 100years visit of the Lord in the main temple by just looking once in the Gundicha Temple on the day before the return festival.

On the ninth day of the festival the deities are taken to the cars in a procession and then all devotees pull the cars towards the main temple. This procession is called Bahuda Yatra. On the eleventh day the deities are decorated with golden ornaments in the cars. The decoration symbolizes the victory of Gajapati in Kanchi war.

It is difficult to say when the car festival started who is the pioneer of the festival, but one thisng is clear that the lord fist arrived at the main temple on cars from Gundicha Temple. More over the car festival observed as per the wish of the Lord to visit his birth place once in the year in the month of Asadha. The car festival symbolizes the highest truth of the life. It signifies that the body is a car on which the God (soul) sits. If one realizes that he is not the body but the soul, he can only see the Lord within him. Once the man realizes that he is the soul, the Sat-Chit-Ananda he will never sleep in the mother’s womb, the meaning there by he will never come through the cycle of birt and death. He is liberated.



NABAKALEBAR

Another important festival of Lord Jagannath is Nabakalebar. (new body celebration). The deities are made from log of woods. These wood logs in every 8-19years in the month of Asadha (June-July) when a leap year fall in the same month as per the lunar calendar. The process for the collection of new logs starts from the 10th day of the bright fortnight of Chaitra (March). The Raja of Puri considered as the hereditary of king Indradumna appoint Brahmin pundits, a group temple servitors and daitas, who are quite knowledgeable in the collection of the log to be fit for the construction of deities also known as the hereditary of Viswavasu Sabar, who was worshiping Neela Madhab. After blessings of Maa Mangala of Kakatpur all servitors proceed to different directions to select Nim trees as per the prescriptions of Shastra’s. The Brahmin pundits perform Yanja near each selected trees. Then after trees are cut, and four big logs are brought for four deities wrapped with silken clothes in specially built carts to Puri and kept in Koili Baikunta. The Daitas observe a mourning for 10days as kith and kins of the Lord because of change of old body of the deities as it happens with the case of death of a person in Hindu family. On the 13th day they offer Mahaprasad to Brahmins and get purifieds. After that the process of repair of new deities are continued and completed on the new moon day of Asadha. It may be noted here that the process of change of body takes place only in the month of Asadha when it is having a length of 60days. On the 15th days of the dark fortnight of Asadha the new deities appear before the devotees dressed with Pata Bashtra (Siliken Clothes). This is called Navajauvan Vesha (the youthful decoration of the Lord).On the 2nd day of the bright fortnight of Asadha the new deities climb on the Cars and proceed to Gundicha Temple.

The question arise here why does Gods also change his body? The simple answer to this question is Lord performs this sports to teach the humankind that the is not the body, he is the soul. He is Sat-Chit-Anand, the embodiment of bliss. Whenever man dies the soul changes the material body, the mortal body. Body is transitory but the soul is eternal. One has to realise that he is not the body. He is the replica of the big soul , which is a part of the Paramatma. Then only he will surpass all kind of sorrowful happenings of the world.