Puri Rath Yatra - 2015
The Rath Yatra or Car Festival in Puri is a famous annual festival that draws tourists and pilgrims from all over the country and even from abroad. This year the Rath Yatra festival is going to be grander in 2015 due to the auspicious event of Nabakalebara coinciding with it. If you are planning to visit Puri this year then you are going to enjoy it even more. If you are looking for a nice, cosy city to spend your holidays then Puri is one great option. In this article we highlight the world famous Rath Yatra festival of Puri and also mention various other things to do while you are in Puri.
Puri and the Sri Jagannath Temple are decked in history, traditions and divine mysteries and exploring them is going to be great fun as well as a learning experience. Rath Yatra or Car festival is one of the most important ceremonies of the temple and is a huge attraction for devotees. In the myths, the deities are treated as humans with their own desires and failings. One such beautiful example is the annual Rath Yatra festival that signifies the Lords annual visit to their aunt’s home which is the Gundicha Temple situated at the opposite end of the Grand Road. The deities travel with a huge procession in their respective ‘Raths’ and they stay at the Gundicha Temple for 9 days. The festival is a significant event for devotees as this is the time when Lord Jagannath gives His Darshan and is the time when non-Hindus can worship him too.
The 2015 Ratha Yatra begins on 18th July, Saturday and end on the 26th July.
Ratha Yatra Tips: If you plan to visit the Grand Road on the day of the Ratha Yatra, it is best to stay out of the streets and try to view the festival from the balconies of one of the many hotels or local houses. Many places will rent a space (a chair to sti) for a small amount. Ask your hotel to help you with the arrangement.
Things to Do in Puri
Rath Yatra is a busy time and there are a lot of things that you can do during this event.
Visit the Jagannath Temple: This is the first and most important thing to do when in Puri. The temple complex is huge and each temple or pillar inside has an interesting story or myth related to it. If you have a good and knowledgeable guide then get ready to tap into a reservoir of great stories, traditions and myths of the temple. Also make sure that you take Prasad from the market inside the temple complex.
Visit the Puri Sea beach: The sea beach at Puri is an amazing place and a great hit with tourists as well as devotees. Watch the sunset from the beach or take a bath in the sea. You can also try out street food on the beach or local delicacies in any of the nice restaurants nearby.
Shopping: Puri is a great place for shopping souvenirs and trinkets that are indigenous to the city. There is the famous ‘Patachitra’ – a form of painting that is created by local artisans that you can buy. There is also the appliquÃ© work called ‘Chandua’ that is made exclusively in a small town called Pipili that is 25-30kms from Puri.
Visit Konark: The world famous Sun Temple at Konark is one place that you simply can’t afford to miss. It is situated near the Chandrabhaga beach and the quickest route to reach Konark from Puri is by the Marine Drive road and the distance between them is 35kms.
A full day at the Grand Road is absolutely required to enjoy the full experience of Ratha Yatra on that auspicious day. The day before and after the festival can be spent doing the above things. If you still have a few more days in Puri, you can visit Bhubaneswar for a day or two. If you more time, here are a few more tourist attractions for day trip around Puri.
Transportation - Best way to reach Puri during Ratha Yatra
All modes of transportation are going to be pretty busy during the Ratha Yatra. Buses and trains are usually packed and it is difficult to arrange taxis during this period. Moreover, all roads to and from Puri are completed blocked from the day before the festival to the day after. Hence little bit of planning is recommended.
Puri railway station is a major stop in the east coast railway division so reaching Puri won’t prove difficult. The nearest airport is 65kms away in Bhubaneswar which is the capital city. Other than these modes, you can always hire a luxury bus or private taxi from any of the major cities of Odisha.
Hotels for your Ratha Yatra Stay
Tourists prefer to stay near the sea beach due to the easy availability of hotels in the area and the picturesque surroundings. But if you want to be in the middle of the Rath Yatra festival, book rooms near the Grand Road. Here you can have a bird’s eye view of the scale and grandeur of the ceremony and if you are interested you can be a part of it too. But remember to book rooms way ahead of time. Sometimes hotels get booked up to 6 months ahead of time. More about important landmarks in Puri and hotels near them.
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