The Rath Yatra festival is the only occasion when non-Hindu devotees, who aren’t allowed inside the temple, can get their glimpse of the deities. A mere glimpse of Lord Jagannath on the chariot, or even to touch the chariot, is considered to be very auspicious.
The massive number of devotees that flock to the festival does pose a safety risk. Lives are often lost in the immense crowd, so extra care should be taken.
Rath Yatra Ritual Dates for 2018
- Sri Gundicha: July 14. Placement of the deities in the chariots and journey to Gundicha Temple. The first chariot to move is that of Lord Balabhadra. Next is Subhadra’s, and last Lord Jagannath’s.
- Hera Panchami: July 17. Goddess Lakshmi, the wife of Lord Jagannath, gets concerned because he hasn’t come back. Irritated, she goes to Gundicha Temple to find him and see what’s going on.
- Bahuda Yatra: July 22. The grand return journey to the Lion’s Gate entrance of Jagannath Temple. The chariots are drawn in reverse order.
- SunaBesha: July 23. Decoration of the deities in gold ornaments. (This is a particularly popular ritual).
- AdharaPana: July 24. Offering the deities a healthy support drink.
- NiladriBijay: July 26. Deities are placed back inside Jagannath Temple.
Must come this time to Puri to take blessing from lord of the Universe.