Ratha Yatra is a Hindu festival associated with Lord Jagannath held at Puri in the state of Odisha, India.The Ratha Yatra, also known as the Ratha Jatra, is an annual Hindu festival that commemorates the journey of Hindu deity Jagannath to visit Gundicha Temple. Hindus typically hold the Ratha Yatra in the Puri region of India hence the name Puri Ratha Yatra. The festival takes place on the 2 day of a fortnight-long moonlight phase (Shukla pakshya) in Ashadha, the 3rd month of the Hindu lunar calendar. The festival will fall on June 25 this year.The famous festival that is celebrated usually in the month of June or July commences when the chariots of Lord Jagannath accompanied by his elder brother Balabhadra and sister Devi Subhadra are brought out on to the Main Street of Puri known as Bada Danda. The Chariots are then taken to the Shri Gundicha Temple to their aunt’s house where the deities enjoy a nine days stay and are served with sweet pancakes.Hindus mimic the journey of the three deities during the feast of Puri Ratha Yatra. The preparations for Ratha Yatra take place weeks before the feast itself. Devotees come from all over the world to pull decorated chariots through the streets (bada danda). Carpenters from chosen families gather in Puri and in other cities where the celebration is held to begin building the chariots for the celebrations during Akshaya Tritiya. The carpenters build three chariots from special trees, one for Lord Jagannath, one for his brother Lord Balabhadra (the Taladhwaja) and another for their sister the goddess Subhadra (the Dwarpadalana). The three chariots are all large, about 45 feet in height. The Nandighosa has sixteen wheels, the Taladhwaja has fourteen wheels, and the Dwarpadalana has twelve. About eighteen days before the feast of the Ratha Yatra, temple devotees give the statues of the three deities a ceremonial bath. The deities are housed in the Main Temple at this time.
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