The world famous Car festival of Lord Jagannath Swamy is popularly known as'' Ratha Yatra,Gundicha Yatra and also Ghosha Yatra''.It is held on 'Ashadha Sukla Dwitiya' i.e the 2nd day of the bright fortnight of Ashadha (june-july) every year.On the car festival day ,the Deities are taken out from the temple and placed in their respective chariots kept near the Simha Dwar.The Deities are carried to the chariots in a traditional ceremonial manner-first Sudharshan,then followed by Balabhadra,Subhadra and Jagannatha.Balabhadra and Jagannath are made to swing forward and backward manner called 'Pahandi'.These chariots are now carried to the Gundicha temple and the Deities are kept there for nine days.On the ninthday chariots are brought back again to main temple
The chariot of Lord Jagannath is known as 'Nandighosh'.It has 16 wheels and the colours of fabrics that cover the roof of charoit are red and yellow. The chariot of Lord Balabhadra is known as 'Taladhwaja'.It has 14 wheels and the colours of fabrics are red and green.The chariot of Subhadra is known as 'Devadalana',has 12 wheels and fabrics are red and black.Sudharshana is seated by the side of Subhadra in her chariot.Madanmohan, a representative deity of Jagannath sits in the chariot of Lord Jagannath.So also two other small idols Rama and Krishna take their seats in the chariot of Balabhadra.
Thus actually seven Deities namely Jagannath,Balabhadra,Subhadra,Sudharshana,Madanmohan,Rama and Krishna are seated on three chariots and moved to a temple known as 'Gundhicha Ghar' which is at a distance of about 3kms from Jagannath Temple.The chariot of Balabhadra is dragged first followed by those of Subhadra and Jagannath.
The tradition of Ratha Yatra is believed to have begun at the instance of 'Gundicha Devi',the queen of king Indradyumna,the founder of original temple.The Ratha Yatra commemorates Sri Krishna's journey from Gokul to Mathura,where he was to kíll the demon king Kamsa.Although the main Ratha Yatra takes place in Puri,it is also celebrated in several other parts of the country with great enthusiasm.
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Puri Jagannath Temple