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Rath Yatra- Festival of India-Sanctity and Significance of Ratha yatra-Image-Greeting



 Rathe tu vamanam drishtwa punarjanmam na vidyate A glimpse of the Vamana, the dwarf form, an incarnation of Lord Jagannatha, is sure to ensure emancipation, release from the cycle of birth and death.

Yatra is an essential part of the ritual of the Hindu system of worship. Yatra literally means travel or journey. Normally, it is the representative deities of temples more popularly known as Utsava Murti in south and Chalanti Pratima or Bije Pratima in Orissa, partake in these journeys. 

It is rarely that the presiding deities come out of the sanctum for such ritual journeys. The Yatra for the Ritual Journey take two forms – one involving the short circumbulation around the temple and other involving a longer journey from the temple to some other destination. The Yatra is considered as an important part of festivities and ceremonies of each temple and is considered as a special and sacred occasion.
Rath Yatra being unique among all Jatras is the grandest festival of the supreme divinity who has manifested himself in the Kali Yuga to emancipate humanity and to relieve them from their sufferings. Lord Jagannatha is identified fully with Vishnu and Krishna. In his original manifestation as Nilamadhaba, he was worshipped in a sacred Nyagrodha Briksha or banyan tree. 

The branches of the tree had spread for several miles and any one entering this area was instantly emancipated and was relieved of the travails of the birth and re-birth. In fact, the influence of Yama, the God of Death, is supposed to have been curtailed in the sacred city of Puri – Srikshetra on account of the presence of Lord Jagannatha and therefore it is also called the Yamanika Tirtha.

A glimpse of Lord Jagannatha on the chariot is considered to be very auspicious and saints, poets and scriptures have repeatedly glorified the sanctity of this special festival.
The sanctity of the festival is such that even a touch of the chariot or even the ropes with which these are pulled is considered enough to confer the results of several pious deeds or penance for ages. In fact, there is a famous Oriya song which says that on this occasion, the chariot, the wheels, the grand avenue all become one with Lord Jagannatha himself.