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Jagannath's Chandan Jatra: Know everything about the 42-day-long festival in Odisha

Jagannath's Chandan Jatra is not just a festival; it is a cultural extravaganza that brings people together in celebration and devotion. It is a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Odisha and the deep-rooted faith of its people.

Written By: Kristina Das @https://twitter.com/KristinaDas2 New Delhi Updated on: May 30, 2024 13:30 IST
Jagannath's Chandan Festival
Image Source : SOCIAL Everything you need to know about Jagannath's Chandan festival in Odisha.

A unique festival celebrated in the state of Odisha is the famous Jagannath's Chandan Jatra. This 42-day-long festival is a celebration of Lord Jagannath, the presiding deity of Puri, and is a significant event in the Odia calendar. The festival is a grand affair, marked with elaborate rituals, colourful processions, and a sense of fervour and devotion that attracts millions of devotees from all over the country.

Unfortunately, during Lord Jagannath's Chandan Jatra festival in Odisha's Puri on Wednesday night, a pile of firecrackers exploded, injuring at least 15 persons with burns, according to authorities. When hundreds of people gathered to see the ceremonies beside the banks of Narendra Pushkarinee, a nearby body of water, an accident occurred.

Origin of the Festival:

The history of Jagannath's Chandan Jatra can be traced back to the 9th century when it was first introduced by King Kapilendra Deva. According to popular belief, Lord Jagannath, along with his siblings Balabhadra and Subhadra, would fall sick after the grand Rath Yatra, and this festival was initiated to bring them back to good health. The festival is also known as Gandhalepana Yatra as 'gandha' or sandalwood paste is applied to the deities during this time.

Duration and Significance:

Jagannath's Chandan Jatra is celebrated for 42 days, starting from Akshaya Tritiya (the third day of the bright half of the lunar month of Vaisakha) and ending on Purnima (full moon day). The festival usually falls in April or May, and this year it will be celebrated from May 10.

The significance of this festival goes beyond its religious aspect. It is also a symbol of communal harmony as people from different castes, classes, and religions come together to celebrate it. The festival also showcases the rich cultural heritage of Odisha through its various rituals and festivities.

Rituals and Celebrations:

The celebrations of Jagannath's Chandan Jatra start with the 'Chandan Yatra' or the 'Chandan Jhaun' ritual. In this ritual, the idols of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra are brought out of the sanctum sanctorum of the Jagannath temple and taken in a procession to the Narendra pond. The deities are then bathed with scented water and smeared with sandalwood paste. This ritual is believed to cure their illness and rejuvenate them for the upcoming Rath Yatra.

Another significant aspect of this festival is the daily 'Chapa Khela' or boat race in the Narendra Pond. The boats are decorated with flowers and lights, and people participate in this race with great enthusiasm. The 21-day-long boat race is a popular attraction for tourists and is a sight to behold.

Another highlight of Jagannath's Chandan Jatra is the 'Bhaskara Jatra' or Sun Festival. On this day, the deities are taken out of the temple and placed on a chariot, which is then pulled by devotees around the streets of Puri. This symbolizes Lord Jagannath's journey to visit his devotees in their homes. The chariot is decorated with yellow and red cloth, representing the sun's colours, and is accompanied by musicians and dancers.

The Grand Finale - Rath Yatra:

 

The 42-day-long celebrations of Jagannath's Chandan Jatra culminate in the grand Rath Yatra, which is one of the most famous chariot festivals in the world. Millions of devotees from all over the world gather in Puri to witness this spectacular event. The deities are placed on magnificent chariots and pulled by thousands of devotees, who consider it an act of great devotion and blessing.

ALSO READ: What is the mystery behind the missing key of Jagannath Temple's treasury? Know details

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