Ratha Yatra 2023: The Chariot Festival Of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra & Devi Subhadra

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Ratha Yatra 2023

Have you ever seen the Ratha Yatra also known as “Ratha Jatra” & “Ghosa Jatra”, the famous chariot festival of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra & Goddess Subhadra. Ratha Yatra festival celebrated in Puri Jagannath Temple Odisha, India. This year Ratha Yatra festival is celebrated on Tuesday, June 20, 2023.

In this article we will take you a journey of discovering the history, significance and tradition of this great devotion festival.

Ratha Yatra festival Puri Odisha
Ratha Yatra 2023


Ratha Yatra is also known as the “Festival of Chariot”, “Ghosa Jatra”, “Gundicha Jatra” or “Bahuda Jatra”. It is a hindu festival celebrated every year on the lunar month of Asadha (June/July) in Jagannath Temple, Puri. It is one of the most popular festivals of Lord Jagannath. The festival marks the journey of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Devi Subhadra from their Temple (Sri-Mandira) to their aunt’s (Mausi Maa) house also known as “Gundicha Mandira”. In “Gundicha Mandira” they stay for nine days and return to their own temple on “Bahuda Jatra” or “Bahuda Yatra”.

Details Of ChariotsLord JagannathLord BalabhadraGoddess Subhadra
Chariot NameNandighosaTaladhwaja Darpadalana
Alternatives Name Of Chariots Garudadhwaja,
No. Of Wooden Piece used 832763593
No. of Wheels161412
Height44′ 2”43′ 3”42′ 3”
Colour Of the Canopies Red, Yellow Red, Bluish GreenRed, Black
Charioteer DahukaMataliArjuna
Gyardian Of ChariotsGarudaVasudevaJayadurga
Flag NameTrailokyamohiniUnnaniNadambika
Colour Of Horses WhiteBlackRed
Name Of the horsesShankha, Shewta, Balahaka, HaridashawTibra, Ghora, Dirghasharma, SwarnanavaRochika, Mochika, Jita, Aparajita
Chariots Rope NameSankhachada NaginiBasuki NagaSwarnachuda Nagini
Accompanying DeityMadanmohanRamakrishnaSudarshana
Chariots DwarapalaJaya, VijayaNanda, SunandaGanga, Jamuna
Ratha Yatra 2023

History Of Puri Jagannath Temple Ratha Yatra

The history of Jagannath Puri Jagannath Ratha Yatra begins back to thousand of years ago. It is believed that the festival has been celebrated since the time of King Indradymna. He built the Jagannath Mandir in Puri and installed the idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddesses Subhadra.

The Ratha Yatra festival is the oldest ritual whose description can be found in Brahma Purana, Padma Purana, Skanda Purana and the Kapila Samhita.

Significance Of Puri Jagannath Ratha Yatra

Ratha Yatra is celebrated to commemorate the journey of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra & Goddess Subhadra to their aunt’s temple known as Gundicha Temple. The festival symbolises the journey of every human being from birth to death. This festival teaches us the importance of devotion, faith and unity. The festival also Signifies the unity and diversity of people from different castes, creeds and religions, they all come together to celebrate this festival.

Tradition Of Ratha Yatra Festival

The Ratha Yatra Festival is celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm in Puri and other parts of the world. The festival is celebrated on the second day (Dwitiya Tithi) of the bright fortnight of Ashadha month. This festival generally falls in the month of June or July. Ratha Yatra Festival is celebrated for 9 days.

The festival is marked by the pulling of the chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra from Jagannath temple to Gundicha Temple, which is about 3 km away from Puri Jagannath Temple.

The Chariots Of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddesses SubhadraThe three chariots used during the Ghosa Yatra are made from wood of specified trees like phassi, dhasua etc. On the day of Akshaya Tritiya, the preparation of the chariots starts. The artists decorate chariots with beautiful design, motifs, paints and flowers. The construction of the chariots started in Akshaya Tritiya in front of the palace of the king of Puri (opposite Puri temple main office).

The chariot of Lord Jagannath is known as Nandighosa. The Nandighosa Ratha is 44 feet 2 inch high and has 16 wheels. The chariot Lord Balabhadra is known as Taladhwaja. The Taladhwaja Ratha is 43 feet 3 inch high and has 14 wheels. And the chariots of Goddess Subhadra known as Darpadalan which are 42 feet 3 inch high and have 12 wheels.

Why people Pulling the Chariots

The pulling of the chariots (Ratha) is one of the most important traditions of the Ratha Yatra festival. Thousands of devotees come from all over the world to participate in the pulling of the chariots. The devotees believe that by pulling the chariots, they will get the blessings of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddesses Subhadra.

The Journey of the Chariots

The journey of the chariots from the Jagannath temple to the Gundicha Temple. The journey covers a distance of 3 km and takes about 8 hours to complete the yatra. The journey is accompanied by the beating of drums, chanting of mantras, singing of devotional songs, dance & dahuka boli. This festival attracts millions of devotees and tourists from all over the world during Ratha Yatra.

The Return Journey Of the Chariots

The return journey of the chariots known as “Bahuda Yatra”. After staying in the Gundicha Temple for 9 days Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra return to their own temple. The Bahuda Yatra is also accompanied by the pulling of the chariots with same fervour and enthusiasm as the Ratha Yatra. This year Bahuda Yatra is falls on Thursday, 29 June, 2023.

Suna Besha 2023

Suna Besha of Lord Jagannath
Suna Besa of Lord Jagannath

This year Suna Besha of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddesses Subhadra observed on Thursday, 29 June, 2023 in Puri.After the return of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddesses Subhadra’s chariots to Sri mandir to Gundicha Temple, the deities are attired in gold ornaments and worshipped on the chariots (Ratha). This celebration is known as Suna Besha.

It is believed that this tradition was started by King Kapilendra Deva in 1460. The Suna Besha is otherwise known as Raja Besa and Rajadhiraja Bhesa. On the 11th day of Ratha Yatra festival the deities wear golden ornaments of hands, arms, crown and leg of solid gold.

Generally Suna Besha is observed 5 times during the year. It happens on;

  • Vijaya Dashami in October month
  • Kartika Purnima in November month
  • Magha Purnima in January month
  • Asadha Bada Ekadasi in June/July month.

Only Asadha Bada Ekadasi Suna Besha happens on the chariots or outside of the temple and other 4 Beshas of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra & Goddess Subhadra happen inside the temple.

Niladri Bije 2023

Niladri Bije is the ceremony of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra’s return journey from Chariots to Ratna Singhasana. The 3 deities return to the temple in “Goti Pahandi”. This year Niladri Bije observed on Friday, 30 June, 2023.

On the day of Niladri Bije Odisha is celebrated as Rasagola Dibasa or Rasgulla Day. Niladri Bije is the last day of the Ratha Yatra festival.

Celebration Of Ratha Yatra Outside India

Ratha Yatra is not only celebrated in India but also in various parts of the world. In foreign countries Ratha Yatra festival is known as “The Car Festival ”. The festival is celebrated in countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Russia, UAE, Singapore and the United States etc.In the United States the festival is celebrated in various cities including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago etc.

Ratha Yatra festival is a symbol of Indian culture and odisha tradition. It helps to promote cultural exchange and understanding of different communities.


Ratha Yatra is a vibrant and devotion festival celebrated for the journey of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddesses Subhadra. The festival is a symbol of devotion, faith, and unity. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm by millions of devotees around the world. The festival helps to promote cultural exchange and understanding among different communities. Ratha Yatra festival reminds us of the rich cultural heritage of our culture.

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