After two years of Covid-induced separation of sorts, devotees may once again gather to witness the grand Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath and his divine siblings this year. Devotees are happy that this year’s Rath Yatra will be celebrated with full fervour, as they anticipate seeing Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra on the chariot. In the year 2020-2021, Rath Yatra happened without devotees with full covid restrictions.
The Puri administration is already gearing up to host a whopping 15 lakh devotees from across the country and outside on the opening day of the nine-day-long sojourn on July 1. The heritage city of Puri in Odisha is gearing up for the world-famous Rath Yatra as the construction of chariots is in full swing.
The construction work for three gigantic chariots of Holy Trinity – Lord Balabhadra, Lord Jagannath and Devi Subhadra – for the annual car festival in Puri is underway at the Ratha Khala and is expected to be complete ahead of schedule. The second coordination meeting was held. It was decided earlier that devotees would be allowed to take part in the Rath Yatra this year.
This year on June 14, after a pause of two years due to the outbreak of Covid-19, the ceremonial public bath, known as the ‘Snana Jatra’ ceremony of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra, was witnessed by lakhs of pilgrims from different parts of the country. The ritual was performed on the bathing altar known as the ‘Snana Mandap’ with 108 pitchers of aromatic sacred water. The holy ritual officially marks the beginning of the annual world-famous Rath Jatra festival.
The water is traditionally drawn from a well-situated inside the sprawling temple complex. The bathing ceremony followed a grand procession called ‘pahandi’ in which the deities along with the idol of ‘Sudarshan’ were taken out from the sanctum sanctorum to the bathing altar in a majestic manner.
Mahaprabhu Jagannath is known as a living god. As per the traditions Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra have fallen ill after taking bath with 108 pitchers of herbal and aromatic water. Now the deities are undergoing treatment at the Anasara Gruha. Meanwhile, servitors have completed Rahulekha and Chitalagi rituals, Phuluri Tela Seva to cure the deities from fever. Phuluri Tela, the special oil has already been prepared on Hera Panchami day of last year, has been applied on the entire body of the Trinity during their hibernation for their speedy recovery.
After spending 14 days in Anasara ghara (sick room), Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra are all set to reappear before the devotees in their rejuvenated youthful form on June 29, known as the Nava Jaubana Darshana. After Nava Jaubana Darshana, the most awaited festival of Rath Yatra will commence on Friday, 1 July 2022 and Bahuda Jatra; (return) will be on Saturday, 9 July 2022. After Bahuda Jatra, Suna Besha the Golden attire of Lord Jagannath will be held on 10th July, Adharapana on 11th July and Niladri Bije on 12th July.