Jagannath temple is very famous for chariot festival – Rath Yatra. Rath Yatra which takes place in Ahmedabad city of Gujarat is known to be the third largest in the world. It is the 140th year of celebration. In Ahmedabad, Rath Yatra is of about 14 kilometers long which passes through different parts of the city to give the opportunity to the devotees to have the divine darshan of Lord Jagannath. The yatra will move through some communally sensitive areas like Jamalpur, Kalupur, Shahpur, Prem Darwaja, Delhi Chakla and Dariyapur.
The yatra starts from the Jagannath temple dedicated to Hindu Lord Jagannathji – the manifestation of Lord Vishnu. The yatra halts at Saraspur, where the locals offer ‘Maha Bhoj’ to the entire escort of devotees of Lord Jagannath. Saraspur is also considered as the Lord’s Mosal – Maternal home. It is celebrated as ‘Lokotsav’ or public festival of the state of Gujarat. This temple is located in Jamalpur locality which was established by Sadhu Sarangdasji about 450 years ago.
Rath Yatra in Puri in the state of Odisha is the largest and most visited Rath Yatra in the world, attracting a large crowd every year. Rath Yatra of Kolkata is the second largest Rath Yatra in the world. In Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s Chief Minister performs the ‘Pahind Vidhi’ that is path cleaning for chariot of Lord Jagannath after which the procession. This procession takes whole day and people from different places come to attend this yatra only for the darshan of deities.
The procession is led by 15 to 20 elephants in decorative dress, followed by trucks decorated with religious floats and then akhadavala’s, with their trained athletes performing aerobatics to please Lord Jagannath. Next follows the disciples with decorative flags of the temple, Bhajan Mandali, Ras Garba, bands and then comes the Holy Trinity on chariots pulled by devotees. People give whole moong beans as a devotional offering to God before a day in the temple. Those moong beans are sprouted and given as prasad to the devotees during the yatra.
This was first begun in 1878 on Ashadha Shukla Paksha Dwitiya as per hindu calendar under the guidance of Narsinghdasji. And in the year 1879 Saraspur was declared as Mosal (maternal home) for the first time. It was first live telecasted on Doordarshan in the year 1996. This is the biggest festival where people come together and take part in it. The chariots of the three lords, Lord Jagannathji, Lord Balbhadra and Devi Subhadra are named as Nandighosh, Taldhvaj and Devdalan and their ropes are known as Shankhchud, Vasuki and Swargchuda respectively.
Happy Rath Yatra