JAGANNATH RATHYATRA : ESSENTIAL INFORMATION ABOUT PROCESSION OF DEITIES
Jagganth Rathyatra particularly refers to the journey (procession) of deities. It involves public procession with three massive chariots with deities Jagannath, Balabhadra and Sunbhadra. It is said that Jagganth is Vishnu avatar, Balbhadra is his bother and Subhadra is his sister. A huge number of the devotees comes every year to Orissa to celebrate this event. The description of this event is also found in Padma Purana, Brahma Purana and Sakand Purana.
The deities worshipped in the temple of Puri, but once in a year, they are brought out in huge chariots (Raths). This procession travels the distance of 3 Km from Bada Danda ( main street of Puri) to shri Gundicha Temple. The Rathas are the wooden structure which is built each and every year and are pulled by the devotees. It takes almost 2months to construct these raths of 45 feet high and 35 feet square.
Chhera pahara is the most important ritual associated with the Rath Yatra. This ritual held in two days that is on the first and last day of this festival. In this event, Gajapati King wears the dress of sweepers and sweeps all around the deities and chariot in Chera Pahara (sweeping with water) ritual. This ritual depicts that there is no difference between the powerful Gajapati King and the must humble devotees.