HomeFestivalsRath Yatra 2023 Date, Significance, History

Rath Yatra 2023 Date, Significance, History

If there is one festival that is associated with Odisha worldwide, it is the Ratha Yatra. There is not a person in Odisha who does not know about this festival or hasn’t heard of it. It is Odisha’s most devout, pious, and divine affair that is celebrated by millions of devotees across Odisha every year.

Rath Yatra 2023 Date

Rath Yatra 2023 commences on Tuesday, 20 June 2023, and Bahuda Yatra falls on Wednesday, 28 June 2023.

Jagannath Rath Yatra

Odisha is the land of Lord Jagannath and the Srimandir or the Lord Jagannath temple in Puri is one of the Char Dhams – the four major holy shrines of Hindus, which are considered the most pious temples which all Hindus must visit at least once.

The Lord Jagannath temple in Puri is restricted to people of other religions i.e. non-Hindus, hence people who are not Hindu may not receive the darshan of the Lord if they wish to do so inside the temple. This is the reason that the Ratha Yatra is held once a year, to allow everybody to receive the darshan of the Lord when he steps out of his abode and travels to his aunt’s home i.e. the Gundicha Temple.

Ratha Yatra, literally meaning Chariot Festival, observes the procession and travel of Lord Jagannath and his two siblings, Balabhadra and Subhadra, to their aunt’s home at the Gundicha temple. The Ratha Yatra has been celebrated for thousands of years, with legends behind it appearing in the sacred Hindu Puranas and other writings about its origins. Some of the important legends are below.

In Dwapara Yuga, Demon Kansa who is the maternal uncle of Lord Krishna and Balram invited both of them to Mathura, to kill them. So he sent Akrur with a chariot to Gokul. Lord Krishna and Balram sat on the chariot and left for Mathura. This day of departure is known among devotees as Rath Yatra.

In another legend, the King of Puri, Indrayumna, dreamt that Lord Krishna’s body floated to the shore in the form of a log. King Indrayumna decided to build a grand temple in honor of Lord Krishna and his two siblings, however, he needed somebody to craft idols from the log. It is then that Vishwakarma, the Hindu demigod who is an architect, arrived at Indrayumna’s doorstep and agreed to craft the idols. When he didn’t come out of his workshop for weeks, an impatient Indrayumna barged through the door. The idols were incomplete and Vishwakarma had disappeared. However, Indrayumna believed that they had been made by a demigod and thus sanctified them and established them within the temple.

Hence, the idols of Lord Jagannath and his siblings are made of wood, resin, and cloth. As the idols disintegrate after a while, every 12 years they are remade in the same ‘incomplete’ way as they appeared in the story.

Rath Yatra

Lord Jagannath is worshipped in Odisha as the “Living God”. All rituals and traditions that are performed in his worship also include daily activities such as taking a bath, getting dressed up, having food, going to bed, etc. Hence, in the case of Ratha Yatra, there is an entire sequence of events that takes place, and which justifies the rituals and traditions of the Yatra. It is believed that when the Lord and his siblings grow tired of the incessant summer heat, they take a long bath on the day of Snana Purnima, for which they catch a cold and are advised to stay isolated.

After completing the isolation period of 15 days which is called ‘Anshan’ or ‘Anabasara’, Lord Jagannath wishes to step out of his house for which the siblings decide to take a trip to the Gundicha Temple, which is the abode of Lord Jagannath’s aunt. While the Lord Jagannath is traveling, anybody and everybody have the liberty to see him, worship him, and offer their obeisances. It is a popular belief that if one pulls on the ropes of the Lord’s chariot, then he is absolved of all his sins. Thousands of devotees tug the ropes of the chariot, which are tied to the wheels. The Lord with his siblings and priests stays at the Gundicha temple for 9 days.

Bahuda Yatra

The return journey of Lord Jagannath and his siblings is called the ‘Bahuda Yatra’. The entourage stops at the Mausi Maa Mandira (abode of another aunt of Lord Jagannath), where he accepts his aunt’s offering of Poda Pitha, which is a favorite sweet delicacy of the Lord. The entire festival is full of such life-like rituals and traditions, which make the festival all the more relatable to human life in general. Lord Jagannath is considered by Hindus the Lord of the Universe and commands incredible devotion and piety from his followers. Devotees believe that he who has seen the Ratha Yatra shall be released from the cycle of life and death and shall attain “Mukti”.

Bahuda Yatra 2023 Date

Bahuda Yatra falls on Wednesday, 28 June 2023.

Jagannath Rath Yatra 2023: Important Dates

  • Chandan Yatra: 23 April 2023, Tuesday
  • Deva Snana Purnima: 4 June 2023, Sunday
  • Beginning of Anasara: 4 June 2023, Sunday
  • Nabajauban Darshan & Netrastova in Shreemandira: 19 June 2023, Monday
  • Srigundicha Yatra / Ratha Yatra: 20 June 2023, Tuesday
  • Herapanchami: 24 June 2023, Saturday
  • Navami Sandhya Darshan: 27 June 2023, Tuesday
  • Bahuda Yatra: 28 June 2023, Wednesday
  • Suna Besha: 29 June 2023, Thursday
  • Aadhar Pana Ritual: 30 June 2023, Friday
  • Niladree Bije: 1 July 2023, Saturday


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