After 53 years, Rath Yatra in Odisha to be a two-day affair this time

The last such arrangement being made in 1971 in view of a specific celestial arrangement. However, devotees will not be able to see the Trinity in the ‘Nabajaubana’.
Rath Yatra
(Photo | Debadatta Mallick, EPS)

BHUBANESWAR: Devotees will get an opportunity to pull the chariots of Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra twice during the Rath Yatra this year.

This will be happening after a gap of 53 years, with the last such arrangement being made in 1971 in view of a specific celestial arrangement. However, devotees will not be able to see the Trinity in the ‘Nabajaubana’.

As per the calendar of temple ‘nitis’, while ‘Ratha Agyanmala Bije’ will be observed on July 6, ‘Nabajaubana Darshan’, ‘Netra Utsav’ and the ‘Rath Yatra’ fall on one day - July 7. While for the sake of the ritual, the chariots will be pulled for a short distance on July 7, the three deities will be taken to the Shree Gundicha temple on July 8. This is because against the normal 15 days of ‘Anasara’ - when the three deities recuperate after falling ill following a bath with 108 pitchers of holy water during Snana Purnima - the period is for 13 days this year as per the almanac.

A member of the Mukti Mandap, the highest seat of scholars of the temple, informed that despite the Anasara period being 13 days this time, it has to be observed for 15 days and not less as per the Bamadev Samhita and Niladri Mahodaya records. While Snana Purnima is on June 22, Anasara of 15 days ends on July 6. Since Nabajaubana Darshan and Rath Yatra are falling on the same day, all the nitis will be rescheduled.

Daitapati servitor Binayak Dasmohapatra informed that this is after a gap of 53 years that ‘Nabajaubana Darshan’, ‘Netra Utsav’ and the ‘Rath Yatra’ are all falling on the same day, which is July 7. Usually, a day before Nabajaubana, the Agyanmala of the Trinity is brought out for the chariots to be pulled towards the Lions Gate. This year, the situation is different.

“Since Nabajaubana and Rath Yatra are on the same day, there will be little time left for the servitors to carry out the Sriranga Seba which is a gupta (secret) ritual of the Trinity, Netra Utsav and many other rituals which are carried out for the Trinity before they proceed on Rath Yatra. This is why Nabajaubana darshan of the Trinity will not be allowed this time,” he said.

A similar situation occurred in 1971 when chariot pulling was done for two days. For this Rath Yatra, the schedule of 1971 will be followed. Instead of agyanmalla of the Trinity, that of Pati Dian will be brought for the chariots to turn towards the temple on July 6 because the deities will still be inside the Anasara Ghara for the gupta seba.

“On July 7, the deities will be brought to the chariots in Pahandi at 2.30 pm. The subsequent rituals on the chariots including Cherra Pahanra will take another three to four hours and pulling of chariots will only start around 7 pm or 8 pm. The chariots will be pulled only for a short distance on the day,” Dasmohapatra informed. The next day, chariots will be pulled to Gundicha temple. So, this year, devotees will get an opportunity to pull the chariots twice, he added.

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