Jagannath (Sanskrit: jagann tha is a Hindu deity, a form of Vishnu.

The oldest and most famous Jagannath deity is in the city of Puri, in Orissa, India (the city is known to many as Jagannath Puri after the Jagannath Temple) where each year the famous Rath Yatra festival takes place. Jagannath is worshipped all over India.

L ike Badrinath ‡ Rameswaram Dwarka ,The Jagannath Temple in Puri is regarded as one of the 4 most sacred Hindu pilgrimage places in India

. Jagannath Rath Yatra or the' chariot journey of Lord Jagannatha', observed in the month of Ashadha (JuneJuly), is a festival that celebrates the annual visit of the God to his birthplace. Several lakh people converge at Puri for this festival. An atmosphere of almost hysterical devotion prevails on this day and in earlier years; devotees were known to have thrown themselves under the wheels of the rath in the hope of obtaining instant salvation. But the actual preparation starts from the Magha Saptami with the cutting of trees in distant Daspalla/Nayagarh and nearby areas for providing the wood necessary for construction of chariots.

On the third day of the bright fortnight of Baisakh, i.e. Akshaya Trutiya, starts the auspicious construction of chariots on the Grand Road of Puri and completed within a short span of 58 days

‡ The chariots are lined up in front of the Puri temple. The King of Puri with great pomp and ceremony then brings the deities to their respective chariots. Devotees offer prayers to the deities. Descendants of the King, heralded by gaily-caparisoned elephants sweep the chariot platforms with a gold-handled broom and sprinkle scented water to demonstrate that in the eyes of God, all men are equal. Nowhere else is a deity, once consecrated, taken out of the temple. The entire yatra is a symbolic humanization of God and an attempt to bring God down from his pedestal of glory to a more human level.

Their Lordships on the bathing altar

Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra in Their Gajanan Vesha

Lord Jagannath surrounded by devotees belonging to all religions as it is only on the Rath Yatra day that Lord Jagannath, along with brother Lord Balabhadra, and sister Devi Subhadra come out of the main temple giving a chance to people of all religions to have a glance of him.

‡ Each deity has its own massive chariot, which are replicas of the temple. Jagannatha's chariot, Nandighosha, is yellow in color, 45 ft high and has 16 wheels, each one seven feet in diameter. About 4,200 devotees draw the chariot. Balabhadra's chariot is called Taladhvaja, is blue in color and has 14 wheels. Subhadra's chariot is the smallest, with 12 wheels and is called Deviratha.

Rathyatrra in london

Devotees dancing down Fifth Avenue, New York, as the ISKCON rath yatra winds its way

Ratha Yatra in Berlin

sand sculpture of the deity on the sea beach by well-known sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik

‡ When the chariots reach the summerhouse, the idols are installed. The journey back, a week later, consists of another ritual, known as Phera Rath Yatra.Every year, the chariots are broken down, its wood sold as relics and a replica made. However the images of the deities are preserved. It is only when two Ashadha months occur one after the other that the images are changed. This happens once in 12 or 24 years. The ceremony, Naba Kalebar, consists of burying the old images inside the temple. Then new images are created. This practice stems from the belief that in such a year, everything in the universe changes form, and therefore Jagannatha receives the same treatment.

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