Ratha Yatra: Chariot Festival of Sri Jagannatha in Puri

Paper Type: Art Paper (Matt) | Size: 280 x 229mm
All colour, 245 colour photographs; 240 pages; Hardback
ISBN-10: 9385285564 | ISBN-13: 978-93-85285-56-1

 1995 |  45 |  30

Ratha Yatra, the ancient festival of chariot journey by Jagannatha, the presiding deity of the great temple Srimandira at Puri, is one of the grandest spectacles on earth. Jagannatha and his siblings Balabhadra and Subhadra ride three colourful chariots in their annual sojourn to their garden house and birthplace, the Gundicha Temple, where they stay for seven days before returning back. Full of drama, and panoply of rituals and ceremonies, Ratha Yatra is rooted in ancient traditions, myths and legends and embodies the most colourful elements of the classical and folk cultures of the Indian subcontinent and the Odisha region. This book is a comprehensive account of Ratha Yatra, the great socio-cultural and religious event and phenomenon unique in the entire world. It provides the background on the syncretic faith represented by Jagannatha, his origin and strong links with the heritage of aborigine tribes and an account of the Naba Kalebara ceremonies, celebrating the periodic renewal of the bodies of the presiding deities. Rich in detail, the book covers a wide span including the sacred geography of Puri, legends surrounding the temple, the unique architectural style of the temple complex, the elaborate preparatory summer festivals leading up to the main festival and the process of making the chariots with its associated special ceremonies. It brings alive every stage of the intricate rituals and ceremonies lasting almost two months, giving a complete portrayal of the different phases of the festival.

Subas Pani
Subas Pani

Subas Pani is an author, translator, composer and creative director. A retired civil servant with a PhD on Jayadeva’s Geetagovinda, he has given running commentary on the Ratha Yatra for the national and international channels of Doordarshan, for more than two decades. His travel articles have appeared in Swagat and Namaskar. He has also authored two seminal works in Odia—Sampoorna Geetagovinda and Daru Brahma: Sri Jagannatha Bhajana Sudhasindhu and composed music for major compilations on the same theme.