Chariot Construction Progresses for Puri Rath Yatra Festival

Construction of chariots for Odisha's Rath Yatra festival is underway, with 7 out of 42 circular axles completed. The festival, a significant cultural and religious event, is scheduled to take place in June or July.

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Nitish Verma
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Chariot Construction Progresses for Puri Rath Yatra Festival

Chariot Construction Progresses for Puri Rath Yatra Festival

In the holy city of Puri, Odisha, the construction of chariots for the upcoming Rath Yatra festival is well underway. The annual festival, which attracts millions of devotees, involves the grand procession of three massive wooden chariots carrying the deities of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Devi Subhadra. This year, the chariot construction has reached a significant milestone with the completion of 7 out of the 42 circular axles needed for the wheels.

Why this matters: The Rath Yatra festival is a significant cultural and religious event that showcases the rich heritage of Odisha and attracts devotees from around the world, making it an important symbol of unity and devotion. The successful organization of this festival also has economic implications for the local community, with thousands of visitors generating revenue for local businesses.

The intricate work is being carried out at the Ratha Khala (chariot yard) on the Bada Danda (grand road) in Puri, under the expert guidance of three main Viswakarmas, the traditional carpenter servitors. A total of 42 wheels will be crafted for the three chariots, each requiring a circular axle, known as a Tumba. The process involves several stages, including 'sutabadia' (carving of holes in the axles), fixing the 'aras' (spokes), and attaching the 'Pais' (rims) to the Tumba.

The construction of the chariots commenced on the auspicious day of Akshyay Tritiya earlier this month, following the ceremonial worship of three holy wood logs at the Ratha Khala. As per tradition, two wheels of each chariot will be attached during the upcoming Shreekhetra Bhanuri, a ritual that marks a crucial step in the chariot-building process.

The Rath Yatra festival, also known as the "Festival of Chariots," is a centuries-old tradition that holds immense religious and cultural significance for the people of Odisha and devotees across the world. The festival commemorates Lord Jagannath's annual visit to his aunt's temple, the Gundicha Temple, along with his siblings Balabhadra and Subhadra. The grand chariots, meticulously crafted each year, serve as the divine vehicles for the deities during this sacred journey.

As the construction of the chariots progresses, the anticipation and excitement among devotees continue to grow. The sight of the majestic chariots, adorned with vibrant colors and intricate designs, rolling down the grand road of Puri, is a spectacle that draws thousands of devotees from far and wide. The Rath Yatra festival not only showcases the rich cultural heritage of Odisha but also serves as a symbol of unity, devotion, and spiritual fervor.

With 7 out of the 42 circular axles already completed, the skilled Viswakarmas and their teams are working diligently to ensure that the chariots are ready in time for the grand festival. The Rath Yatra is scheduled to take place on the second day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu month of Ashadha, which falls in June or July every year.

Key Takeaways

  • Rath Yatra festival chariot construction underway in Puri, Odisha.
  • 42 wheels will be crafted for 3 chariots, each requiring a circular axle.
  • 7 out of 42 axles completed, with skilled Viswakarmas working on the rest.
  • Festival attracts millions of devotees, generating revenue for local businesses.
  • Rath Yatra scheduled to take place in June/July, showcasing Odisha's rich heritage.