Rath Yatra is the chariot festival which takes place in huge manner in Puri. This is the festival celebrated to honor Lord Jagannath. The main deities worshipped in this festival are Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra. This festival takes place in the month of Ashar of the Hindu calendar which commences on the rainy season of the month of June.
- The Rath Yatra festival is also called by other names like Gundicha Jatra, Ghosa Jatra, Navadina Jatra, Dasavatara Jatra and many more. Devotees and believers consider this festival to be very auspicious. A glimpse of Lord Jagannath is considered to very holy and is believed to purify the souls.
- The chariots are pulled by hundreds of people with thick and strong ropes. It is also believed that one who touches the rope and pulls the chariot makes himself/herself free of all the sins and his/her soul is purified. The rope of the chariot is also considered to be very auspicious.
- On the day of Rath Yatra the deities are taken out of the main temple and placed in the chariot and the chariot is drawn through the streets so that everyone can get a view of the deities.
- It is believed that the three deities on this day travel to their aunt’s home on the chariot. Thus the chariots are pulled 2km to the Gundicha temple. The chariots are made new every year and are decorated beautifully.
- Some people who are non Hindu or foreigners are not allowed to enter the temple and only on this day they get to view the deities. Thus, on this festival, devotees from all over the world visit Puri to witness the grand celebrations.