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Jul 14, 2018 57 tweets 29 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Wishing all an auspicious #RathaJatra one of the grandest celebrations ever in India, in fact would say in the world. May blessings of Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Subhadra be with you all. #JaiJagannatha
While #RathaJatra is celebrated all over India and in other countries too, it is the #Puri one that is the most famous of all. Puri being the seat of the Jagannatha temple and one of the 4 centres set up by Adi Shankara makes it significant. #JaiJagannath
Puri one of the holiest lands also known as Shrikshetra, Purushottamapuri, a land blessed by sages like Bhrigu, Atri, Markandeya. Also called as Shankakshetra, Neelachala. The current name is more a shorter version of Jagannatha Puri. #JaiJagannath #RathaJatra
I think Puri must be the only place where Krishna ( Jagannatha), Balabhadra and Subhadra are worshipped together. Not sure if this is there in any other temple in India. #JaiJagannatha #RathaJatra
Having spent 4 years in Odisha, have a very personal connect with Jagannatha. Puri was just an hour's drive from Bhubaneshwar and every weekend used to make it there, take darshan of Jagannatha, spend time at the beach #JaiJagannath #RathaJatra
The magnificent Jagannatha temple at Puri was constructed by Ananga Bhima III of Eastern Ganga dynasty. He dedicated his entire kingdom to Jagannatha, stating they were mere vassals of the Lord. Even now the rulers see themselves as servants of Jagannatha #RathaJatra
Currently it is the Gajapati rulers of Khurda who perform the rituals for #RathaJatra , they still see themselves as vassals of Jagannatha. Just before the Yatra begins the king sweeps the road with a broom, signifying his complete surrender to the Lord. #JaiJagannath
In fact much like the Ranas of Mewar, the rulers of Travancore, the Eastern Gangas and later the Gajapatis saw themselves as mere vassals of their ruling deity, who was the actual ruler . #JaiJagannath #RathaJatra
Apart from the Govardhana Matha established by Adi Shankara, Puri is also the site of many other Mathas. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu the great Vaishnava preacher, spent his final days in Puri and it's believed he merged with Jagannatha here.
Radhakantha Math was established by him
18 times was the temple of Jagannatha raided by invaders and every time, the rulers put up a defiant resistance, not once were the murthis of Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Subhadra damaged, as always they were shifted to a safe location #RathaJatra #JaiJagannatha
18 times was Puri attacked, mostly by Muslim invaders, every time the rulers defended it fiercely. And ensured that the murthis were shifted to smaller temples or a remote river island. If the temple still stands it is due to such brave warriors #JaiJagannatha #RathaJatra
Apart from Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, another great Vaishnava saint who visited Puri during the 12th century was Ramanujacharya who established the Emaar Matha here. #JaiJagannatha #RathaJatra
While the #RathaJatra is celebrated all over, it’s the Puri Rathayatra that is the most famous as it’s the abode of the Lord himself. The story behind Puri, the Jagannatha temple and Ratha Jatra is equally fascinating. #JaiJagannatha
The story goes that Jagannatha , literally meaning Lord of the World , was worshipped as Neela Madhab by a tribal chief. The King of Puri , Indradyumna deputed a Brahmin priest Vidyapati to find the idols and worship in his palace. #RathaJatra #JaiJagannatha
Vidyapati was taken to the cave blindfolded but he managed to mark the path with mustard seeds, which later became plants. The King along with Vidyapati went to the cave, but was unable to find the idol. #Rathajatra #JaiJagannatha
Later the king had a dream in which the Lord instructed the king to make the idols out of the tree located near the sea shore. The king likewise instructed the celestial architect, Vishwakarma to carve the idol. #JaiJagannatha #RathaJatra
Vishwakarma agreed, but subject to the condition that at no stage in his work would he be disturbed by any one else. However Indradyumna’s queen broke the rule out of curiosity and Vishwakarma, disappeared leaving the idols unfinished. #JaiJagannatha
The temple is built in typical Oriyan architecture style by king Ananta Barma Chodaganga Dev during the 12th century A.D. Its one of the tallest structures in India, measuring a height of 214 ft from ground level. #RathaJatra #JaiJagannath
Also unlike most temples in India, where the murthis are made of iron or stone, in Jagannatha Temple, they are made of wood, primarily from sacred Neem logs known as Daru, and they are replaced every 12-19 years in a ceremony known as Nabakalebara. #RathaJatra #JaiJagannath
Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Subhadra are seated in the sanctum sanctorum, on what is called the Ratnabedi. The Sudarshana Chakra, and the accompanying deities of Madanamohana, Sridevi and Vishwadatri are also placed on the Ratnabedi #RathaJatra #JaiJagannath
The belief is that Jagannatha was a tribal deity originally, and that accounts for a lot of tribal traditions in his worship, especially the wooden murthis. The Daitapatis who perform the rituals are of tribal origin, as also many other rituals followed in the #RathaJatra
Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Subhadra together are considered a manifestation of Bhairava, who is worshipped in the temple along with Bimala Devi. In a sense it is a fusion of Vaishnavism, Shaktism, Shaivism, along with native tribal traditions that make up #RathaJatra
Matter of fact the Jagannatha worship in Puri, is symbolic of the way Hinduism is practised in Odisha, a mix of Saiva, Vaishnava, Shakti, native tribal traditions along with Jaina, Buddhist practices, making it unique in it's own way #RathaJatra #JaiJagannath
Jagganatha temple is flanked by 4 gates Simha Dwara, Aswha Dwara, Gaja Dwara and the Tiger Gate. The entrance is primarily via the Simha Dwara on the eastern side, the surrounding enclosure is called Meghnad Prachir #RathaJatra #JaiJagannath
After the outer enclosure we enter the inner enclosure called the Kurma Bedha, which contains the sanctum sanctorum or the Vimana. This is where the Ratna Vedi is located where you can get a darshan of the deities #RathaJatra #JaiJagannath
The inner most enclosure also covers the Jagamohan or the Audience Hall where the audience are seated during the various festivals, the Natamandapa or the Dancing Hall where dances used to be held in ancient times and Bhoga Mandapa or the Hall of offerings #RathaJatra
If you take a closer look at the main shikara, you can see the Nila Chakra mounted on top. Every day a different flag is waved on top here, called as Patita Pavana. And the disc itself has 8 Navagunjaras carved on it, all facing towards the flagpost. #RathaJatra #JaiJagannath
The Nabagunjara is a mythical beast, prominent in Odiya folklore and culture. So called as it is believed to be made up of 9 different animals, and another avatar of Vishnu. It was popularized by Odiya poet Sarala Das. #RathaJatra #JaiJagannath…
The Nila Chakra on top of the Shikara is distinct from the Sudarshana Chakra which is placed along with the deities in the Jagananth Temple. And it is a very revered symbol in the Jagannatha worship, symbolizing protection #RathaJatra #JaiJagannath
Singhadwara on the Eastern side is the main entrance to the Jagannatha Temple, facing east to the Bara Danda, Puri's main road, where the #RathaJatra procession takes place. A flight of 20 steps called the Baisi Pachaha leads into the temple #JaiJagannath #RathaJatra
Right in front of the Singhadwara you have the Aruna Stambha a huge monolithic pillar, on the top of which you have an idol of Aruna, the charioteer of Surya. It is believed this pillar was bought from Konark to Puri, by Maratha guru Brahmachari Gosain #RathaJatra
Other 3 entrances to the Jagannatha Temple, are the Hathidwara( Elephant Gate), Vyaghradwara( Tiger Gate) and Ashwadwara( Horse Gate). Within the complex you have temples dedicated to Bimala Devi, Mahalakshmi, Ganesha, Saraswati, Narasimha #RathaJatra #JaiJagannatha
Bimala Devi temple in the complex is one of the Shaktipeeths, it is believed that Sati's navel fell here. The Mahaprasad is first offered to Bimala Devi, and during #RathaJatra when the deities return, she has to be placated first, and then only they can enter the temple.
Mahalakshmi temple in the complex is also one of the main shrines, and it is believed that she supervises the preparation of the Mahaprasada made for Jagannatha here. There is a Ganesha temple, and the murti is believed to have been gifted by the Pallava ruler of Kanchi.
Apparently there was this famous story of the local Gajapati ruler Purushottama Deva, marrying the Pallava princess, Padmavati from Kanchi, and it is believed the Ucchistha Ganapati murthi here was gifted by her father #JaiJagannatha #RathaJatra
The #RathaJatra actually begins in April-May, or more specifically on Akshaya Trithiya, the date on which the construction of the chariots begins. And this kicks off the first phase called as the Chandan Yatra, when the deities are worshipped with chandan, and water.
he Chandan Yatra which is the first phase of the #RathaJatra asts for 42 days and is divided into two periods of 21 days each, the Bahari Chandana, and the Bhitari Chandana. The Bahari Chandana is when the representatives of the 3 deities are taken in a procession.
The representatives of Jagannatha, Subhadra and Balabhadra are bought to the Narendra Tank, named after the ruler who built it, also called as Chandan Pokhari. Madana Mohana is the representative of Jagannatha accompanied by 5 Shivas also known as the Pancha Pandavas.
The 5 Shivas accompanying Madana Mohana here are Lokanatha, Jameswar, Markandeya, Kapala Mochana, and Nilakantha. Lakshmi, Saraswati, Madana Mohana are placed in one boat, while Rama, Krishna and the Pancha Shivas are placed in another boat.
The deities are taken out in a procession from the Singhadwara, main gate of Jagannatha Temple to the Narendra Pushkarini, led by the royal elephant, two large decorated palanquins. This Chandan Yatra is as spectacular as the main #RathaJatra , and is attended by large crowds.
Narendra Pushkarini was built by Narendra Deva, son of the great emperor Kapilendra Deva. Covering around 8 acres, the tank has a small island in the middle, with a temple, where Madana Mohana, the representative of Jagannatha is bought during Chandana Yatra.
The making of the chariots is a ritual by itself, with special wood bought from the Daspalla forests, and puja done to them. This again is a celebration by itself, and many throng the occasion to witness the construction of the 3 Rathas #RathaJatra
The construction of these Rathas begins on Akshaya Trithiya day, with wood specially bought from the former princely state of Daspalla, by a specialist team of carpenters. The logs are floated down the Mahanadi as rafts, and collected near to Puri. #RathaJatra #JaiJagannatha
Many people flock to see the construction of the Rathas, which are placed on the Bara Danda, Puri's main road, where the entire #RathaJatra takes place. There is a family of carpenters, who have the hereditary rights to construct these Rathas.
Nandighosha is the Ratha of Jagannatha, the tallest of the 3 around 44' high. This is wrapped in Red and Yellow color cloth, and guarded by Garuda. The charioteer is Daruka( Surya), and the flag is Trailokyamohini.
Nandighosha is drawn by 4 horses all white in color-Shankha, Balahaka, Suwetha, Haridashwa, and the rope that pulls the Ratha is called Shankachuda Nagini. Jagannatha is surrounded here by Varaha, Gobardhana,Krishna, Nrusinga,Rama, Narayana, Trivikrama, Hanuman and Rudra.
Balabhadra's Ratha is called Taladwaja, and he is accompanied by Ramakrishna here. This has 14 wheels, around 43' high, covered with Red, and bluish green cloth. Matali is the charioteer here, while Unnani is the name of the flag, that adorns it.
Tribra, Ghora, Dirghasharma and Swornanava are the 4 horses, all black in color that pull Taladwaja, while Basuki Naga is the name of the rope used to pull the Ratha. The 9 deities on Ratha are Ganesha, Karthikeya, Sarvamangala, Pralambari, Halayudha, Mrityunjaya, Mukteswara.
Darapadalana, the Ratha of Subhadra, has 12 wheels, around 42' tall, guarded by Jayadurga, while Arjuna himself is the charioteer here. Nadambika is the name of the flag, and the Ratha is covered with red and black cloth, symbolizing Shakti herself. #RathaJatra
4 red colored horses Rochika, Mochika, Jita Aparajita pull Darpadalana, while the rope used to pull the Ratha is named after Swarnachuda Nagini. The 9 deities on this Ratha are various forms of Shakti-Chandi, Chamunda, Ugratara, Banadurga, Shulidurga, Varahi, Mangala, Vimala
you have different kinds of Sevakas from Jagannatha Temple who offer their services, important of the lot is Suara Mahasura Dahuka, they recite what is called as the Dahuka Boli, basically pretty bawdy songs. #RathaJatra #JaiJagannatha
It's believed that #RathYatra being a symbol of fertility and cycle of life, the lyrics of the Dahuka Boli tend to be very risque, with a lot of double entendre. Unless the Dahuka Boli is sung the Yatra does not start. #RathaJatra #JaiJagannatha
It's believed that #RathYatra being a symbol of fertility and cycle of life, the lyrics of the Dahuka Boli tend to be very risque, with a lot of double entendre. Unless the Dahuka Boli is sung the Yatra does not start. #RathaJatra #JaiJagannatha
One more tradition of the #RathaJatra is the Snana Yatra, that takes place on Jyeshta Purnima, where Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Subhadra, are given a bath with 108 pots of water. For about 2 weeks after this the deities are barred from public view, #JaiJagannatha
For about 2 weeks after the Snana Yatra, the deities are not shown to public, and only symbolic Pattachitras strung on a bamboo screen, are displayed. During this period, they are offered only leaves, roots, berries, fruits to cure them of indisposition. #JaiJagannatha
This tradition of offering roots, leaves, fruits to the deities has it's origin in the native tribal way. The daitapatis who perform the rituals for Jagannatha are believed to be descendants of Lalita , the daugther of tribal chieftain Biswabasu and Vidyapati #RathaJatra
Once again wishing all an auspicious #RathaJatra, may blessings of Jagannatha, Balabhadra, Subhadra be with you all. And to all those patiently bearing with my flood of tweets since morning, thanks a lot. Also replug of my post on Puri here'…

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