Festivals of the Temple
Source : Jagannath Puri Book Published by SJTA
It is said that there are twelve 'Yatras' (festivals) of Shri Jagannath as mentioned below, but actually there are more festive rituals performed throughout the year.
1. Devasnana Purnima
2. Ratha Yatra
3. Snana Yatra
5. Parshwa Parivarthan
6. Deva Uthapana
7. Prabarana Sasthi
9. Makar Sankranti
Some important festivals of Lord Jagannath are described below in brief :
Devasnana Yatra :
This festival is celebtated on the full moon day of Jyestha (May-June). The
triad Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra a1ongwith Sudarshana and Madanmohan are
brought out from the Temple and taken in a processipn to Snana Vedi located in
the north-east corner of the outer compound wall. The Deities are bathed there
with 108 pitchers of water from a well near the northern gate. Water from this
sacred well is used only once in a year on this occasion. After the bathing
ceremony, the Deities are dressed like Ganesh (the Elephant God).
In the night, the Deities return to the Temple in a procession again and are placed (except Madanmohan) in a place called Anasarapindi. They remain there unexposed to public view for a period of 15 days. During this period, the Sevaks of a particular group known as 'Daitapatis' ; perform certain secret rituals of the Deities. These rituals are called Anasara nitis. On the day before the Car Festival, the Deities give 'Darshan' to thousands of eager devotees. This 'Darshan' is 'Navajouvan Darshan' .A special rite known as 'Netrotsav' takes place. From this day onwards the Car Festival actually starts still the Deities return back to the Temple.
The world famous Car Festival of Lord Jagannath is held on' AshadhaSukla Dwitiya'
-i.e. the 2nd day of the bright fort-night of Ashadha (June- July) every year.
This festival is popularly known as Ratha Yatra, Gundicha Yatra and also Ghosha
Yatra. On the Car Festival day, the deities are taken out of the temple and
placed in their respective chariots, kept near the Singhadwar. The deities are
carried to the chariots in a traditional ceremonial manner-first Sudarshana,
followed by Balabhadra, Subhadra and Jagannath. Balabhadra and Jagannath are
made to swing forward and backward in a manner called 'Pahandi'.
The chariot of Lord Jagannath is known as Nandighosha. It has 16 (sixteen). wheels and the colour of the fabrics that cover the roof of the chariot are red and yellow. The chariot of Lord Balabhadra is known as Taladhwaja. It has 14 (fourteen) wheels and the colours of the fabrics are red and green. Subhadra's chariot 'Devadalana' has 12 (twelve) wheels and fabrics are red and black. Sudarshan is seated by the side of Subhadra in her chariot. Madanmohan, a representative deity of Jagannath sits in the chariot of Lord Jagannath. So also two other small idols -Rama and Krishna take their seats in the chariot of Balabhadra. These small idols are made of metal. Thus actually seven deities namely Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra, Sudarshana, Madanmohan, Rama and Krishna are seated on three chariots and moved to a temple known as 'Gundicha Ghar' which is at a distance of about 3 kms from Jagannath Temple. The chariot of Balabhadra is dragged first, followed by those of Subhadra and Jagannath.
On the first day if any chariot cannot reach the Gundicha Ghar, it is dragged on the next day. On the ninth day i.e. the Return Car Festival day, the deities are brought to the Singhadwar area of the Jagannath Temple. An important ritual performed, on the 5th day (starting from and including the day of Car Festival) is known as 'Hera Panchami', when goddess Laxmi proceeds to Gundicha Ghar to see
Lord Jagannath. In the evening of the lOth day (i.e. the 11th day of the bright fortnight of Asadha) the deities are adorned with gold ornaments and dressed gorgeously in their respective chatiots parked in the Simhadwar area. On the same day another ritual called 'Hari Sayan Ekadasi' is performed. On the following day i.e. the 12th day of the bright fortnight, important ceremony known as' Adharapana Bhog' is performed. A sweet drink is offered to the deities. On the evening of the following day, the deities are taken to the temple in a traditional procession amidst gathering of thousands of devotees.