Rath Yathras in India
Rath Yatra is a festival for all for its ability that brings everyone rich and poor, Brahmins or Shudras together in its festivity and equally enjoy the fairs. Apart from different religions in India even Muslims participate in Rath Yatras from building the chariots to pulling them. The Rath Yathra festival unites the people of various categories at one place without any discrimination in caste or religion.
Rath Yathra of Puri:
In the state of Orissa, at Puri a grand chariot festival is celebrated which is famous throughout the world. Every year in the month of July, during monsoon season a great Puri Jagannatha Rath Yathra festival takes place in Orissa where the processions of Lord Jagannath along with his elder brother Balabhadra and sister Devi Subhadra are taken out on a long seven days of vacation on their respective huge decorated chariots from temple in Puri, to his garden palace in the countryside pulled by thousands of devotees.
Puri Jagnnatha Rath Yathra is one of the biggest religious festivals in India by Hindus. It is believed that Lord Jagannath is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
Rath Yathra of Ahmedabad:
Next to Puri Jagnnath Rath Yatra, the Ahmedabad Rath Yathra is the second grandeur Rath Yathra festival with lots of crowd. The grand parade of Rath Yatra at Ahmedabad is the biggest in Gujarat which begins from Jamalpur, Jagdish temple early in the morning with the resemblance of same three chariots like in Puri of Orissa. Even the Ahmedabad Rath yathra takes the processions of three deities of Lord Krishna, his elder brother Balram and sister Devi Subhadra on their respective chariots decorated with garlands.
Thousands of devotees worship the Rath Yathra of Ahmedabad and take the opportunity to pull the Rath with the belief of sacred along with music and bhajans. Even elephants are decorated which also move along with the procession.
Rath Yathra festival of Mahesh:
The state of West Bengal is also famous for its Rath Yatra festival of Mahesh in the Hoogly district which has a great historical status since 1875.Rath Yathra festival of Mahesh is the second largest and oldest chariot festival in India that tourists from all over the world This festival is held 2 weeks after the Snan Jatra, which is the festival of holy dip in the Ganges River. The chariot is led in a procession, which leaves the Mahesh village and proceeds to a place called Kunjobati.
The Mahesh Rath Yatra festival holds special historical significance of 1875 as when a young girl was lost in the fair, the then district magistrate Bankim Chandra Chattopadhya who was also the great Bengali poet, he himself went out to search for the girl. Thus he got inspired with this incident then wrote a famous novel Radharani.
Iskcon Rath Yathra:
ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) also celebrates the Rath Yathra festival in south Kolkata takin out the processions of huge chariot of Lord Krishna from Deshpriya Park to Girish Park in Kolkata. Devotees offer prayers at the Vaishnav temple on Hazra Road. The ISKON Rath Yathra festival is celebrated in the same manner as Puri Jagannath Rath yathra.