The wait is over! The Lord of the Universe has come out of His heavenly abode of Srimandir to give darshan to His devotees belonging to all sects and communities from across the world on Bada Danda (Grand Road) in Puri.
Ratha Jatra, the nine-day sojourn of Lord Jagannath and His siblings, is held on Dwitiya Tithi of Shukla Paksha in the month of Ashadha. Soaked in devotion, a sea of devotees from several parts of the country and abroad have thronged the pilgrim town to have darshan of the deities.
They are taking part in the grand festival after a gap of two years. Odisha Government had restricted public participation in Ratha Jatra for the last two years due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Ratha Jatra 2022 Schedule

Also known as ‘Deba Snana Purnima’, marks the beginning of Ratha Jatra. It is the ritualistic bathing ceremony of Lord Jagannath and His Holy siblings Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra and Sudarshan, prior to the Ratha Jatra. Snana Purnima is observed on the ‘Purnima’ (full moon day) of ‘Jyeshtha’ month in the traditional Hindu calendar.Also known as Deba Snana Purnima, Snana Purnima marks the beginning of Ratha Jatra. It is the ritualistic bathing ceremony of Lord Jagannath and His Holy siblings– Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra and Lord Sudarshan. Snana Purnima is observed on Purnima (full moon day) in the month of Jyeshtha, as per the traditional Hindu calendar. On this occasion, deities are escorted in Dhadi Pahandi (procession) from Ratna Bedi to Snana Bedi (bathing altar) of Srimandir. Total  108 pitchers of herbal and aromatic water are used for bathing the deities. While Lord Jagannath takes bath with 35 pots of the sacred water, Jalabhisek of Lord Balabhadra, Goddess Subhadra and Lord Sudarshan are performed with 33, 22 and 18 pitchers of water, respectively.  Later, they are adorned with Hati Besha or Gajanan Besha.

It is also known as ‘Car Festival.’ The auspicious occasion falls on Dwitiya Tithi of month of Ashadha as per Hindu almanac. On this day, the chariots — Nandighosha, Taladhwaja and Darpadalana — carrying Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra along with Sudarshan, are dragged by devotees from Srimandir to the Gundicha Temple, a three-km distance. After brief halts at Bhakta Salabega’s crematorium and later, at Mausi Maa Temple, the deities head to the Gundicha Temple where they stay for seven days.

Bahuda Jatra marks the return journey of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra.  This ritual happens on the ninth day and the deities begin their return journey to the Srimandir on the tenth day. On their way back, the chariots of the deities stops by the Mausi Maa Temple again and Lord Jagannath accepts his favourite baked pancake – Poda Pitha – from his aunt. The three chariots carrying the deities reach the Singhadwara.

A day after their return to Singhadwara, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra appear in the ‘Suna Besha’, adorned in glittering gold ornaments on the chariots. A sea of devotees flock the pilgrim town to have divine darshan on the Grand Road.

Adhara Pana ritual is commenced the day before Niladri Bije.  As per tradition, ‘pana’- sweetened milk prepared from ingredients like milk, sugar, cheese, banana, camphor, nutmeg and black pepper, is prepared by the servitors and offered to the Lords in nine huge earthen pitchers measuring over a meter each in height to touch the lips (adhara) of the deities.

As per the tradition, three pana-filled pitchers are placed on each of the three chariots in front of the deities. After the Sodasha Upachara Puja, the drinks are offered to the Lords and then the servitors smash the pitchers for the pana to spill over the chariots.  The spilled drink is an offering for the parswa devatas (subsidiary deities) on the chariots and spirits that had accompanied the Lords in the chariots during the nine-day long journey.

Niladri Bije is the final event of the annual Ratha Jatra. On this day, Lord Jagannath and his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra, return to the Srimandir. The Lords are escorted by the servitors from their respective chariots to the Ratna Singhasana inside the temple in a ceremonial procession namely ‘Goti Pahanadi’.

On Niladri Bije, Lord Jagannath stops at the Jaya Vijaya Dwara of the temple as an anguished Goddess Lakshmi obstructs Him from entering the Srimandir for having left her alone during the Ratha Jatra. While the Goddess lets Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra enter into the temple, She never allows Lord Jagannath to go inside. Then the Lord appeases Her by offering Rasagola, a popular dessert. This occasion is celebrated as the ‘Rasagola Dibas’ across Odisha.

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