Puri: The centuries-old festival, the Ratha Yatra of Puri Jagannath Temple in Odisha is one of the most important festivals observed by Hindus with lakhs of devotees thronging the pilgrim city during this time.
Though there are many interesting and amazing facts about the Jagannath temple and the annual Rath Yatra, we list 5 lesser-known facts about the Puri Rath Yatra.
1: Builders of chariots
Three massive chariots are built every year for the annual sojourn of the Holy Trinity. As many as 1400 carpenters build the chariots from the scratch each year for the festival. All the three chariots are built to precision without any measuring tapes, by using an ancient technique of measurement using hands and finger lengths. The construction of the chariots starts on Akshaya Tritiya, in front of the palace of the King of Puri in a place known as Ratha Khala (chariot yard). The massive chariots are made without using a single metal nail. Only wooden pegs and joints are used as per the old school carpentry.
2: The mystical rainfall on the day of Rath Yatra
This centuries-old festival is known to have received rainfall every year on that particular day. According to certain records, there hasn’t been a single Rath Yatra that hasn’t rained. There have been times that it hasn’t rained for days before Rath Yatra and on that day it pours.
3: Juggernaut from Jagannath
The word Juggernaut in English is derived from the word Jagannath because of the huge and heavy chariot of Lord Jagannath. The word Juggernaut means “ a huge, powerful, and overwhelming force.” which was coined by the Britishers during colonial rule when they saw the gigantic Raths during the Rath Yatra.
4. Service by the king
The king or Gajapati of Puri sweeps the rath with a golden broom before the commencement of the rath yatra, symbolizing that even the king is a servant in front of the lord.
5: Jaganath refuses to move
According to the devotees who are present during the festival, the chariot of Lord Jagannath refuses to move at first regardless of how many people are pulling it. According to the local folklore, the god is a friend of the servitor’s and would not move until they decide to abuse him.
Lord Jagannath’s idol is one of the few idols that step out of the temple to make a visit to the people who are not allowed inside the temple due to various restrictions on a regular day. The temple of Jagannath in Puri only allows Hindus to visit inside the temple. This step by the god grants people from all religions and various sects to catch a glimpse of the idol.