Festival of Chariots.
When: The full moon phase of June/July, June 21st 2012.,10th July 2013.
Where: Puri, Orissa, India (and other cities).
Every year, in late June or early July, the temple town of Puri, Orissa transforms into a spectacular riot of colour and noise during one of India’s most impressive and oldest Hindu festivals, Rath Yatra (Festival of Chariots).
The festival is celebrated with great ceremony in the same way as it has been for hundreds of years. The deities of Jagannath (AKA Krishna), his brother Balaram and sister Subhadra are carried on huge 45 foot high, beautifully decorated chariots (or raths). The chariots are pulled in a procession (yatra) through Puri’s main street from the Jagannath temple of Puri to the Gundicha Temple, where they remain for nine days. The local King performs a ritual by humbly sweeping the chariot’s floor with a broom as as a symbolic act of serving the deities. Over a million pilgrims gather to pull the Giant chariots in honor of Lord Jagannath, whom many Hindus believe is the creator of universe.
Eat Sabzi Kari (vegetable curry). Try our recipe for Sabzi Kari. Hindus do not drink alcohol, but Indian beers like Cobra or Tiger beer may be available.
Where to see Rath Yatra
Though this festival is now celebrated all over India it originated in the city of Puri, one of the holiest places in India, on the coastal shores of the Bay of Bengal. Since 1968 the festival has also become a common sight in many major cities around the world through the Hare Krishna movement who organise Rath Yatra festivals everywhere, chanting their famous chant and distributing sweets and free vegetarian food to all who attend. European dates can be found here: www.rathayatra.co.uk/
Bhubaneswar is the nearest domestic airport to Puri, but you’ll most likely need to fly into Calcutta (418km away) and book an internal flight or super fast train to Puri from there. Puri is on the East Coast Railway also having direct express train links with New Delhi, Mumbai, Okha, Ahmedabad, Tirupati etc. Book flights and hotels with ebookers.com. You may need to search for flights and hotels separately.
From travel books and holiday reading to binoculars and
And don’t forget the camera!
Enjoy your trip! And when you get home we’d love you to come back and tell us all about it!
Have a night in with the girls
Puri – Rath Yatra 2007 by skinnylatte, on Flickr. A few pictures from the Manchester Rath Yatra 2010