Jagannath Rath Yatra Puri

If Puri seems to be teeming most of the time, that is nothing compared to the seething mass of humanity which arrives during the month of June for the Rath Yatra or Car Festival. The Rath Yatra or Car Festival commences from Jagannath Temple and ends at Gundicha Temple. Lord Jagannath leaves his temple on an enormous canopied car 45 feet high, 35 feet square and supported by 16 wheels, seven feet in diameter, pulled by thousands of pilgrims who vie with one another for this honor. This journey down the only broad avenue of Puri to Gundicha Mandir, the God’s Garden House, is a spectacle of the kind only India can provide. Some 200,000 pilgrims flock here to participate in the Jagannath Rath Yatra festival which commemorates Lord Krishna’s journey from Gokul to Mathura.

The deity is followed, on two smaller chariots, by his sister Subhadra and his brother Balabhadra. Our word “juggernaut” is certainly a corruption of Jagannath and it seems that occasionally some fanatical pilgrims did throw themselves under the wheels of his car, for to die in the god’s sight is a “blessing”. Such practices have been prevented during this century. The god’s return journey to the temple after seven days in his summer house is equally spectacular.

Day & Date of Jagannath Rath Yatra in Puri

2019Thu4 JulRath Yatra
2020Tue23 JunRath Yatra
2021Mon12 JulRath Yatra

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