Dedicated to Lord Jagannath, the Jagannath Rath Yatra is a very significant festival for Hindus which is organised every year at the Jagannath temple Puri. This Rath Yatra is commemorated with colossal zest and liveliness at Puri in Orissa. The Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra is commemorated on the 2nd day (Dwitiya) during the Shukla Paksha of the Ashada month. This festival marks the annual visit of Lord Jagannath to the renowned Gundicha Mata temple. This is a very renowned festival all across the globe, as people from different parts of the world turn up to witness the Rath Yatra. In the Ratha Yatra, chariots are pulled which consists of a race in which chariots are pulled. It is believed that one day before the Ratha Yatra, the Gundicha temple is washed by the devotees and this ritual is called as, Gundicha Marjana. In 2017, the Jagannath Ratha Yatra falls on 25th of June. This yatra is celebrated usually in the months of June or July.
The word ‘Jagannath’ exemplifies the Lord of the Universe, and Lord Jagannath is contemplated as a manifestation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Jagannath is worshipped and reverenced at the famous Jagannath temple of Puri in Odisha. Moreover, the Jagannath temple is considered as one of the Char Dham pilgrimages, and for a Hindu it is believed to visit once in his/her lifetime. In the Puri Ratha Yatra, Lord Jagannath’s brother and sister namely Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra respectively are also worshipped. During this festival, all the three deities Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and their sister Subhadra are worshipped in the Jagannath temple, and they are taken out in their respective chariots on the streets of Puri. Every year this chariot festival attracts tourists, pilgrims and devotees not only from India but from all across the world. This festival marks the annual visit of Lord Jagannath to the renowned Gundicha Mata temple.