Rath Yatra was celebrated with lots of vigor and enthusiasm.
In the month of Ashadha, according to the Hindu calendar, on the
second day of the lunar fortnight that falls during June-July, the idols Lord
Jagannath, along with his elder brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra go
on vacation, traveling on grand chariots, from the Jagannath temple in Puri,
to his garden palace in the countryside. This belief of the Hindu community
has given rise to one of the biggest religious festivals in India namely the
Rath Yatra or the Chariot Festival.
The festival of Rath Yatra has an ennobled
history. Long time ago in Utkal, presently known as Orissa, a powerful and influential
king called Indradyumna reigned over the region. He has nurtured a long cherished
dream of building a temple but doubted in his mind about the deity. One fine
day he dreamt that there was a blue-colored Krishna, called Neelmadhav who has
been residing in a cave of Nilachal Hill. Soon he faced with a problem.
At that time since India was covered
with forests, no one knew for sure the exact location of Nilachal Hill. King
Indradyumna sent his messengers in all possible directions till one of his trusted
young men called Vidyapati found the cave and saw the image of Neelmadhav. Soon
after acquiring the image the king became too proud for his achievement. This
lack of humility in the devotee made the deity to disappear.
Rath Yatra’s history did not stop
there. Realizing his mistake the king apologized and prayed constantly. After
that the God took pity on Indradyumna. One day the king heard a voice in dream.
The voice has given an order. In fact the king has been told to search for a
wooden trunk on the shore from which he can successfully carve out the idol.
After a massive search, at last the trunk
was found between the rocks which were then brought ashore for carving. However
no one could make a scratch. The wood became as hard as granite.
One fine morning a craftsman arrived
from nowhere with a suggestion. He told the king that he is willing to give
a try. The king tried to explain what he wants and how the image of Neelmadhav
should look like. Although the craftsman agreed to meet his demands he put forth
two conditions before the king. Firstly, he will not take any dictation on how
the image should look and secondly he should be given the permission to work
in a closed room for fifteen days without being disturbed by any one. The king
nodded his head in agreement. The craftsman was none else but the God of craftsmanship,
After ten days, the queen was impatient.
She tried to hear if anything was going on inside the closed room. The old man
did not eat for ten days and there was no sound coming from within. She repeatedly
coaxed the king to open the door, the king ultimately yielded. When they entered,
the craftsman had already disappeared and the images were incomplete. The king
was puzzled if the unfinished images should be enshrined. Finally he did install
the incomplete images and worshipped them everyday. One day a craftsman arrived
from nowhere and told the king that he is willing to give a try.
The king tried to explain what he wants
and how the image of Neelmadhav should look. But the craftsman put two conditions
before the king. Firstly, he will not take any dictation on how the image should
look and secondly he should be allowed to work in a closed room for fifteen
days without being disturbed. The king agreed. The craftsman was none else but
Lord Vishwakarma, the God of craftsmanship.
After ten days, the queen grew impatient.
She tried to hear if anything was going on inside the closed room. It was heard
that the old man did not eat for ten days and there was absolutely no sound
coming from within. She repeatedly persuaded the king to open the door. Ultimately
the king yielded. When they entered the room, they found that to their utter
surprise the craftsman disappeared and the images were left incomplete.
The king was puzzled if the unfinished
images should be enshrined or not. Finally he took the decision of installing
the incomplete images and worshipped them everyday. Images were none other than
those of Lord Jagannath, along with his elder brother Balabhadra and sister
For several generations, no one knew
about the temple until it was accidentally discovered by the then ruling king,
Gala Madhav. He ordered for an excavation and the temple once again came into
Since then every year Rath Yatra is celebrated
in almost all the cities and towns of India and abroad also.