Jagannath Rath Yatra 2024: Know date, history and what’s special about this year’s chariot festival

Jul 08, 2024

The Jagannath Rath Yatra, one of the most significant Hindu festivals, is set to captivate devotees and tourists alike in 2024. This vibrant and spiritually charged festival celebrates the journey of Lord Jagannath, along with his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra, from their temple in Puri to the Gundicha Temple. Here’s everything you need to know about the Jagannath Rath Yatra 2024.

Jagannath Rath Yatra 2024: Date

The Rath Yatra falls on the second day of the Shukla Paksha (waxing moon fortnight) in the Ashadh month of the Hindu calendar. This year, it coincides with Sunday, July 7, 2024, starting at approximately 4:26 AM.

What’s special about this year’s Rath Yatra?

In 2024, the Jagannath Rath Yatra holds special significance for devotees due to a rare celestial alignment not witnessed in 53 years. This year, the festivals of Netrotsav, Nabajoubana Darshan, and Rath Yatra coincide on the same day, a combination last seen in 1971. Normally, these rituals mark the reappearance of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Goddess Subhadra after a 15-day isolation period known as 'Anasara', following Snana Purnima. However, this year, due to the temple administration's decision to ensure the timely completion of rituals, Nabajoubana Darshan will not be open to devotees. Additionally, another rare occurrence is the shortened Anasara period of 13 days instead of the usual 15 days.

Jagannath Rath Yatra 2024: History and Significance

The history of the Jagannath Rath Yatra dates back thousands of years and is deeply rooted in Hindu mythology. Lord Jagannath, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, along with his siblings, undertakes this annual journey as a reenactment of a historic event described in ancient scriptures. According to legend, this journey symbolises Lord Jagannath visiting his aunt's home, seeking her blessings, and returning to his temple.

The Rath Yatra holds immense significance as it signifies the universal bond of love and devotion between the deities and their devotees. It is believed that pulling the chariots during the procession cleanses sins and fulfils spiritual aspirations.

Jagannath Rath Yatra 2024: Rituals and Celebrations

The festivities begin with rituals conducted by the temple priests and religious heads. The deities are bathed, adorned with new clothes and jewellery, and placed on grand chariots specially constructed for the occasion. The chariots, known as Rathas, are massive and elaborately decorated structures with intricate wood carvings and brightly coloured fabrics.

The highlight of the festival is the procession of these chariots through the streets of Puri, accompanied by the chanting of hymns, beating of drums, and the joyous shouts of devotees. Thousands of pilgrims from all over the world gather to witness and participate in pulling the chariots, seeking blessings and divine grace.