The Festival/the Occasion
Ratha Yatra or Ratha Jatra or Chariot Festival is a Hindu festival, originated in Puri, Odisha that involves moving deities Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshana on a chariot (called a ratha or rotho)
“Ratha” (ରଥ) in Odia means chariot and “jatra” (ଯାତ୍ରା) means journey.
The festival thus refers to the annual journey of the divinity in the form of idols to the “Mausima Deula” (aunt’s place).
Today, 18 July 2015, century’s biggest Rath Yatra began in Puri, about 67 km from state capital Bhubaneshwar. The event, this time, is coinciding with the Navakalevar (re-birth ceremony/ an ancient ritual associated with the Idols of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan are replaced by a new set of Idols) of the 12th century Puri Jagannath temple deities.
A year with an extra (Adhika masa) Ashadha masa/month as per Hindu calendar is considered auspicious for conducting the ceremony. This usually occurs every twelve to nineteen years. Preparations for the ceremony start in the month of Chaitra. The Deities are made from a special type of Neem wood known as Daru Bramha. Last ceremony was done in the year 1996. More than 3 million devotees are expected to visit the temple during the Nabakalevara this year.
During childhood, the occasion of ‘Rath’ used to be thrilling; I would have waited for Appa (my father) to come from office and help me to decorate my own ‘Rath’. The locality children used to pull these small chariots with idols in placed in different levels.
Following this, ‘Rath Mela’, used to be an attraction for quick bites of papad,jalebi,etc
Even today, ‘Rath’ is pure nostalgic day for me!
To make this auspicious day more memorable, I had intentionally selected an Odisha specialty saree for my office wear as the 28/100 moment of #100sareepact.
I first went to Puri when I was in Class II. On 2012 I visited the temple once again and this specific saree was a gift from a friend. The shop located just opposite of the temple was not to be missed, along with ‘Kakatua’ khajas…!
28/100 is slate coloured, hand woven cotton Katki saree with a wonderful maroon border. The anchaal with traditional motifs steals the show. I paired the saree with an crème/maroon blouse (which coincidentally has katki border )
Today Kolkata is hosting double celebrations of Eid al-Fitr & Rath Yatra; thought of dressing up with proper matching silver jewellery and a bindi too, which made me feel happy & complete….!!!
Hope you all have a great day, warm wishes; I will be back with another regional saree next week during ‘Ulta Rath’ !!!