The Grand Chariots of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra & Subhadra

by 7/18/2015 0 comments

Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra 2015 : Sat, 18 July

The three Chariots of Balabhadra,Subhadra and Jagannath are constructed each year with Sal wood, customarily brought from the exprincely State of Dasapalla,by a specialist team of carpenters who have hereditary rights for this. 150 carpenters work for a two-month period on building the three huge chariots – one for each of the three deities. 20 sculptors then create the intricate wood carvings which decorate the chariots. The chariots are painted in bright colours and decorated with appliqué work.

Lord Jagannath's Chariot is called Nandighosa. It is forty-five feet square at the wheel level. It has sixteen wheels,each of seven feet diameter, and is decked with red and yellow coverings of cloth.

The Chariot of Lord Balabhadra is called the Taladhwaja, has fourteen wheels, each of seven feet diameter, and is covered with red and blue cloth. Its height is forty-four feet.

The Chariot of Subhadra is known as Darpadalan is forty-three feet high with twelve wheels, each of seven feet diameter. This Chariot is decked with the coverings of red and black cloth.

Around each of the Chariots are nine Parsvadevatas, the guardian deities, and four horses. Each chariot has a Charioteer called Sarathi, Matali, Darruka and Arjuna are the three charioters attached respectively to the three Chariots of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra.
The 200-foot long ropes attached to the chariots are pulled by devotees and mostly police officers, who try to maintain security as thousands surge forward and try to pull or at least touch the ropes which are believed to wash away sins and bring good fortune.Balabhadra’s chariot is the first to make the trip, followed by Devi Subhadra’s chariot and then Lord Jagannath.These chariots or Rathas are pulled along the Bada Danda or the Grand Road by lakhs of devotees to Gundicha temple over a kilometre. At Gundicha the deities take new apparels every day and after a lapse of 8 days return to the main shrine riding the same Rathas. At the termination of the Yatra, the cars are broken up into pieces and religious relics are made from them.

The Rath Yatra symbolizes Krishna's departure to Mathura from Gokul.

Ajay Govind


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