Puri, the abode of Lord Jagannath, is also known as the City of Festivals of India, due to its celebrating a total of 62 festivals of Orissa, all dedicated to Lord Jagannath, popularly known as Lord Krishna, every year. Some major festivals the holy city celebrates have been charted here.
The Abhishekas or the coronation ceremony of the Lord Jagannath, held on the full-moon day in the month of ‘Pausha’ (Dec-Jan), begins the annual cycle of Puri festivals. This festival is known as ‘Pushyavisheka’ or coronation.
Dola Yatra ( Holi Festival ):
Among the festivals of India, the entire country celebrates Holi, the festival of colors, in the month of March, so does the Puri. Lord Jagannath also celebrates this festival on a Pandal, outside the main shrine, as Dola Bedi.
Chandan Yatra is celebrated as the concluding festival of the cycle comprising a range of religious festivals during the festival of Rath Yatra. This festival starts from Akshyaya Trutiya and takes twenty-one days to last. In accord with its name – Chandan Festival – its inseparable constituents are sandal (chandan) paste and water. The festival is celebrated in the month of Baisakh, in extremely hot summertime, making sandal paste and water essential to keep you cool.
Among the festivals of Orissa, Devasnana Purnima is an inseparable part of the famous Rath Yatra celebration. The day is believed to be the birthday of the Lord Jagannatha. This day, the full-moon day of the month of Jyestha, the deities are bathed by 108 pitchers of water of the well situated near the Sitala temple in the confines of the Jagannatha temple. Having been bathed, the deities are dressed up in the Gajanana or Ganesha Vesha.
After the festival of ‘Snana Yatra’, the deities remain in the Anasar House for as many as 15 days. During this period, nobody is allowed to be with the deities, not even the Pandas. The deities are supposed to be suffered from fever after the bathing ceremony. However, during the period, the Daitas (a class of temple Sevaks) secretly worships the deities.
The 12th century Jagannath Puri temple, situated in Puri, is the foremost epicenter for the festival of the Rath Yatra in Puri. The Puri Yatra has always been popular among tourists due to its religious connotation.
The Rath Yatra Puri or Chariot festival, one of the much-awaited Hindu festivals, honors the Lord Jagannath’s visit along with his siblings – Lord Balabhadra and Deity Shubhadra – to the temple of Queen Gundicha. As many as three new splendid chariots are created for the elegant Rath Yatra Puri (the journey) of the Gods – Lord Jagannath and his siblings – every year.
Every year, Indian tour operators organize the Puri Rath Yatra Festival Tour in the country. Tourists from Indian and abroad participate in Rath Yatra Tour, in large number. Puri Rath Yatra 2015 will be organized on 18th July, Saturday. You have a chance to select the best package from the variety of tour packages available for the upcoming Rath Jatra Tour.