The 139th Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath commenced on 6 July 2016 in Puri, Odisha. The nine-day-long Rath Yatra will see congregation of more than 10 lakh devotees from India and abroad.
The annual festival is celebrated on Ashadha Shukla Paksha Dwitiya (second day in bright fortnight of Ashadha month).
During the Rath Yatra, Lord Jagannath his brother Balbhadra and sister Subhadra will be brought out of the temple to be taken to Gundicha temple, the place of their aunt's house.
During the journey, the chariots on which the deities are carried will be pulled by thousands of devotees. The three deities will stay in the Gundicha temple for a week and then return. The return journey of Puri Jagannath Ratha Jatra is known as Bahuda Jatra.
Key facts related to the chariots
• The three chariots of Balabhadra, Subhadra and Jagannatha are newly constructed every year with wood of specified trees.
• They are customarily brought from the ex-princely state of Dasapalla by a specialist team of carpenters who have hereditary rights and privileges for the same.
• The three chariots are decorated as per the unique scheme prescribed and followed for centuries stand on the Bada Danda, the Grand Avenue.
• Lord Jagannatha's chariot is called Nandighosa. It is forty-five feet high and forty-five feet square at the wheel level. It has sixteen wheels, each of seven-foot diameter. It is decorated with a cover made of red and yellow cloth.
• The chariot of Lord Balarama is called as the Taladhwaja. It has fourteen wheels. It is covered with red and blue cloth.
• The chariot of Subhadra is known as Dwarpadalana. It has twelve wheels. It is covered with red and black cloth.
About Jagannath Temple
• The Jagannath Temple was built in the 12th century.
• The construction of the temple was initiated by the ruler of Kalinga, Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva.
• The temple is sacred to the Vaishnava traditions and saint Ramananda who was closely associated with the temple.
• The temple records state that the Jagannath temple at Puri has been invaded and plundered eighteen times.
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