Ahmedabad gears up for its 147th Rath Yatra on July 7! Know about its history & importance

Ahmedabad gears up for its 147th Rath Yatra on July 7! Know about its history & importance

The third largest Rath Yatra in India!

Ahmedabad's Jamalpur area comes alive each year on Asadh Sud Bij, with the grand spectacle of Jagannath Rath Yatra. What began 146 years ago as a religious procession has evolved into a beloved folk festival, drawing devotees and tourists alike. It ranks as the third largest in India, following the Rath Yatras in Puri and Kolkata.

As Amdavdis prepare for this year’s Rath Yatra, scheduled for 7th of July, let’s look at some intriguing facets of this grand event:

Ancient roots and heritage

The first Rath Yatra in Ahmedabad took place in 1878. According to tradition, the festival was inspired by a dream experienced by Narsimhadas, a saintly figure, in which Lord Jagannath appeared to him. This dream is believed to have led to the commencement of the Rath Yatra festival at the city's Jagannath Temple. Since then, the Rath Yatra (chariot festival) has been celebrated annually on Asadh Sud Bij, marking a significant event in Gujarat's cultural calendar.

Held as a Lokotsav (Public Festival), the Ahmedabad Rath Yatra is the third largest in India, following those in Puri and Kolkata, which are also celebrated with grandeur and devotion on the same day.

Cultural significance and rituals

Vijay Barot

The Rath Yatra procession features intricately crafted chariots made from coconut wood, a tradition upheld by the Khalasi community of Bharuch. These chariots carry the idols of Lord Jagannath, Balrama, and Subhadra through a meticulously planned 18-kilometer route across Ahmedabad.

The procession begins with the auspicious Mangala Aarti at 4 AM, followed by the symbolic Pahind Vidhi ritual performed by the Chief Minister of Gujarat to purify the path.

It is not just a religious event but a celebration of Gujarat's cultural fabric. Preceding the procession, rituals like Netrotsav are conducted to symbolically treat the eyes of the deities, ensuring their well-being for the journey ahead. The procession, known as Jalayatra, includes vibrant displays of Akharas, elephants, decorated trucks, and traditional troupes, making it a visual feast and a spiritual journey for participants and spectators alike.

Knock Knock!

On Tuesday, former City Police Commissioner and retired IPS officer Sanjay Srivastava launched a book titled ‘Ahmedabad Rathyatra: A Journey of Miracles.’ It explores the history of the Jagannath temple in Ahmedabad and delves into the rituals and various components of the Rath Yatra. If you're interested in learning more, be sure to check it out!

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