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Puri Rath Yatra

India post issued a postage stamp featuring the Rath Yatra wihich takes place at puri (Orissa) every year. This years Rath Yatra will take place on 13 July 2010.

The biggest and the grandest of all festivals, the highlight is the sacred journey of the statues of the Lord Jagannath of Puri with brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra from main temple to Gundicha Temple, where they remain for nine days. The mammoth wooden chariots carrying the three deities pulled by thousands of devotees, present a spectacular scene. The yatra (journey) begins on the second day of the lunar month (asadha).

The Rath Yatra is also known as Car Festival. An annual festival commemorates the journey of Krishna from Gokul to Mathura.It also symbolizes a journey to light from the dark, which commences on the 2nd day of the bright fortnight in the month of Asadha (June/July).

Lakhs of devotees converge to the city to join festivities lasting for nine days. In this journey, thousands haul the three huge rathas (chariots) carrying statues of Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra, down Grand road to the Gundicha Temple–just 2 km away in Puri, Orissa.

Usually the deities – Jagannath (Krishna), Balarama and Subhadra are worshipped within the temple, but on the day of the Rath festival they are taken through the streets so that everyone can have the fortune of seeing them.

Puri Rathy Yatra–The chariot festival of Puri in Orissa, India. In the first phase of the rituals, the Chandan Yatra, the Chalanti Pratimas (moving statues) of the deities take a ceremonial ride in a boat in Narendra Tank for 21 consecutive days, after a refreshing bath in fragrant sandal wood (chandan) scented water.

This is followed by Snana Yatra, literally the festival of bath, in which the three are taken to Snana Badi, a bathing platform where the deities are ceremonially bathed with 108 pitchers of water. After which the gods are believed to convalesce inside the sanctum sanctorum and undergo treatment in which special ayurvedic medicine and some special liquid diet (sarapana) is offered to them. Closed to public view, during this period of 15 days, the pilgrims have to be satisfied with a darshan of images on the Pattachitra paintings hanged there.

Title: Puri Rath Yatra
Date of Issue: 12 July 2010
Country: India
Denominations: 500p

Source: www.indiapost.gov.in

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