What is the Story Behind the Jagannath Rath Yatra?

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Story Behind the Jagannath Rath Yatra

India celebrates the Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra every year in the months of June and July, or the Asadha month. It marks the annual visit of Lord Jagannath to his birthplace, Gundicha Mandir. The Rath Yatra takes place on the 2nd day of Shukla Paksha of the Hindu lunar month of Ashadha. During this festival, lord Jagannath, along with his siblings Balabhadra and Subhadra are carried inside huge chariots from the Jagannath temple in Puri to the Gundicha Temple. But have you ever wondered what is the story behind the Jagannath Rath Yatra? Read this blog to find all the answers.

Also Read: Unknown Facts About the Bhagavad Gita

History Behind Rath Yatra

Below we have mentioned some of the most popular stories behind the Jagannath Rath Yatra.

1. The story of Krishna’s Cremation

Once upon a time, sorrow fell upon the people of the ancient city of Dwarka. Their Lord Krishna departed from this planet. Unable to bear the pain, Balaram, his elder brother, rushed towards the ocean while carrying the body of Krishna. Subhadra, Krishna’s sister, followed her brothers, with tears streaming down her face.

Meanwhile, King Indradyumna of Jagannath Puri experienced a surreal dream. He saw Krishna’s body floating on the ocean and slowly approaching the shores of Puri. The gods of heaven directed him to construct a grand statue and fill it with Krishna’s remnants. 

For this, the celestial architect Vishwakarma took the form of an old carpenter. His only demand was that no one should disturb him until the statues were complete. Months passed and gradually the statues began to take shape. Filled with curiosity, King Indradyumna opened the door to Vishwakarma’s chamber and he suddenly vanished into thin air, leaving the statues incomplete.  

Nonetheless, King Indradyumna still installed these incomplete statues in the temples. Ever since then, every year, the statues of Krishna, Balaram, and Subhadra are taken out of the temple and pulled by their devotees on grand chariots.

Also Read: 30 Facts About Mahabharata That Make It Most Unique Sacred Text

2. The story of Rohini and Narada

One day, Lord Krishna’s eight queens requested Mother Rohini to narrate the divine stories of Krishna’s playful adventures in Vrindavan. Although Rohini agreed at first, she felt it inappropriate for Subhadra, Krishna’s sister, to be among the audience.

Instead, she instructed Subhadra to guard the palace doorway while she narrated these stories to the queens. Soon Lord Krishna and his elder brother Balaram tried to enter the palace and see what was happening. When they tried to enter, Subhadra stood between them and prevented them from moving forward. 

It was at this moment that sage Narada arrived at the palace. He was awestruck by the divine trio and deeply moved when he saw the trio standing in such a position. Sage Narada then said that may the three of you grant darshan to your devotees in this manner forever. From that day onwards, people from all over the country visit Puri to seek blessings from the divine trio.

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