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What is Ratha Yatra?

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Rath Yatra Puri 07 11027 What is Ratha Yatra?
The Rath Yatra in the Grand Avenue at the Jagannath Temple, Puri

Usually the deities – Jagannath (Krishna) Baladeva, and Subhadra are worshipped within the temple, but on the day of the Rath festival they are taken through the streets so that everyone can have the fortune of seeing them. Three richly decorated chariots, resembling temple structures, are pulled through the streets of Puri. This commemorates the annual journey of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and their sister Subhadra to their aunt’ s temple, the Gundicha Temple which is situated at a distance of 2 km from their temple. New chariots are built every year. This is the only day when devotees who are not allowed in the temple premises such as non-Hindus and foreigners, can get their glimpse of the deities.In 2008 more than 10 million people attended the Rath yatra in Puri. During the festival, devotees from all over the World go to Puri with an earnest desire to touch the rope of the chariot. They consider this a pious deed and risk their lives in the huge crowd. The huge processions accompanying the chariots play devotional songs with drums, tambourines, etc. Children line the streets through which the chariot will pass and add to the mass chorus. The Temple car|Rath carts themselves are some approximately {{convert|45|ft|m}} high and are pulled by the thousands of pilgrims who turn up for the event. Millions of devotees congregate at Puri for this annual event from all over the country and abroad. It is also telecasted live on many Indian channels and International channels.

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