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Baisakhi is one of the famous festivals of Sikh Community celebrated specially in punjab and all

everywhere the world. People of sikh community celebrate baisakhi with sing songs, dance and
with great enthusiasm. Punjabi human beings also fond of dance which is well known Bhangra.
Baisakhi celebration held in the Hindu calendar month of Vaisakh (April-May) according to Sikh
Calendar. So baisakhi is also known as Vaisakhi.

This is a festival of excitement, especially in dance with Baisakhi


festival songs. This festival brings in a lot of thrill across punjabi people. There are many songs
sung on the theme of punjabi bhangra in bollywood film industry.
Some famous singers sung these songs with a great mode and really these songs of Baisakhi
festival get to inspire to listeners with great passion.
Many Hindi films released in bollywood in which most of the films have one punjabi song that
made a film hit. Recently released film Rang De Basanti which is titling song RANG DE
BASANTI. It was one of the songs of the year. This was a marvelous and foot-tapping song.
‘Ik Onkar’ It was a sweet nice song, with some fine music and lyrics. Harshdeep Kaur sang
excellently in this song. Tune and lyrics were good and music was excellent.

Baisakhi is a seasonal festival with a special accent. It is celebrated all over the State on the first
of Baisakh. This is the time when harvest is gathered in and the farmer exults in the fulfillment
of his year's hard work.

He joins the merry-making with full gusto and does not mind walking for miles to be able to do
so. Since this fair is also an expression of prosperity, singing and dancing constitute its most
enchanting features. The Punjab's famous Bhangra and Giddha are inextricably linked with this
festival.

Many fairs in the Punjab are held near the tombs and shrines of pirs. These fairs must have
originated in a spirit of devotion to those saints and sages. The most famous among such fairs are
the Chhapar fair, the Jarag fair, and the Roshni fair of Jagranyan.

Baisakhi marks the beginning of New Year, particularly in the northern part of India. It is among
the few Indian festivals that have a fixed date. Baisakhi is always on April 13th. In Kerala,
Baisakhi is called as "Vishu" and in Tamil Nadu, it is celebrated as "Puthandu".

Considered a holy day, the devout celebrate the Baisakhi with a dip in the holy rivers just around
the break of dawn. It is on this day that Sun enters Aries, the first sign of Zodiac. This signifies
ushering of the New Year.

In Punjab (the land of Green Revolution) particularly and in the northern belt of India in general,
farmers perform their own prayers and rejoice. For on this day, they commence cutting their
harvest.

The fields can be seen full of nature's bounty. Dressed in their typical folk attire, both men and
women, celebrate the day with Bhangra and Gidda. Sweets are distributed, old enmities are
forgiven and life is full of joy, merriment and everyone seems to belong.

The above two are the main reasons for celebrating Baisakhi.

Baisakhi, however, has had a new dimension added to it by Guru Gobind Singh. For it was on
the day of Baisakhi in 1669, that he established the Khalsa Panth and gave a final impetus to the
course of the earlier nine Gurus of Sikhism.

A rural festival of North India, marking the beginning of the solar year (New year), celebrated in
Punjab with great fervor. For the Sikhs the day is a collective celebration of New Year along
with the commemoration of the founding of the Khalsa Panth (Sikh brotherhood) by Guru
Gobind Singh in 1699.

It also signifies the end of harvest of the main crop. During Baisakhi the farmers give 'thanks' to
the Lord Almighty for their fortune and pray for a better crop the next year. Baisakhi involves a
lot of socializing where friends and relatives are invited and delicious meals are served.

The holy book of the Sikhs, 'Granth Sahib' is taken in a procession, led by the 'Panj Pyaras' (five
senior Sikhs) who are symbolic of the original leaders. The occasion is celebrated with great
gusto at Talwandi Sabo, where Guru Gobind Singh stayed for nine months and completed the
recompilation of the Guru Granth Sahib and in the Golden temple in Amritsar.

On Baisakhi day, water is drawn from all the sacred rivers of India and poured in to the huge
tank surrounding the golden temple.
The Jain community celebrates the birth anniversary of the 24th and the
last Tirthankara, Vardhman Mahavir, the founder of Jainism. On Mahavir
Jayanthi, Jain temples are decorated with flags. In the morning the idol of
Mahavira is given a ceremonial bath called the 'abhishek'. It is then placed
in a cradle and carried in a procession around the neighbourhood. The
devotees make offerings of milk, rice, fruit, incense, lamps and water to
the Tirthankar. Pilgrims from all parts of the country visit the ancient Jain
Temples at Girnar and Palitana in Gujarat on this day.

The birth anniversary of the 24th and the last Tirthankara of the Jains,
Vardhman Mahavir, the founder of Jainism, is celebrated by the Jain
community in March. Born a prince in 599 BC, Mahavir renounced
worldly life at the age of 30 and undertook austere penance until he
achieved realisation.

He spread the message of salvation to the world and had many followers. Mahavir preached non-
violence, prohibited any kind of killing and taught his followers to seek salvation through
penance and abstinence. They are also advised to donate money, clothes and grain to the poor.
The Jains are divided into many sects of whom the main ones are Digambaras and Shvetambaras
with the latter again divided into Deravasis and Sthanakvasis.

On Mahavir Jayanthi, Jain temples are decorated with flags. In the morning the idol of Mahavira
is given a ceremonial bath called the 'abhishek'. It is then placed in a cradle and carried in a
procession around the neighbourhood. The devotees will make offerings of milk, rice, fruit,
incense, lamps and water to the tirthankar. Some sections of the community even participate in a
grand procession. Lectures are held to preach the path of virtue. People meditate and offer
prayers. Donations are collected to save the cows from slaughter. Pilgrims from all parts of the
country visit the ancient Jain Temples at Girnar and Palitana in Gujarat on this day.

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Easter Day
Easter is the day when Jesus Christ was crucified and the Christians offer prayers and
services in the Churches. Easter is another important festival for Christians. On this day
Jesus Christ rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. Easter eggs and Easter bunnies
are a major attraction during Easter, the festival of rejuvenation of life and living.

In the days of the early Christian church, only Easter Sunday was celebrated as a holy day.
By the fourth century, each day of the week preceding Easter was established as holy days
including Good Friday.

To most Christians, Good Friday is really a misnomer in that it was a "bad" Friday—the
crucifixion day of Jesus. Some believe the term "Good" evolved from "God" or God's Friday.
Others believe "good" represents the good gift of salvation brought forth by the martyrdom.
Regardless, it is a holy day throughout the Christian world.
Ceremonial worship of the holiday follows closely to the events described in the scriptures.
Some congregations still hold a three-hour service on Friday representing the three hours He
hanged on the cross. A typical service includes seven distinct elements representative of
Christ's seven utterances while on the cross.

Good Friday is a day of sincere reverence among Goan Catholics. It is the culmination of
Lent, an important observance in the lives of devout Catholics. Lent is observed for 40 days
from February to March, beginning with Ash Wednesday and ending on Good Friday followed
by Easter Sunday.

The Legend Behind Easter


Originally known as 'God's Friday', the present expression is believed to have emerged in
the 10th or 11th century. According to Christian legend,Jesus Christ was from Nazareth, a
town in modern Israel. A well-loved and respected citizen, he was considered by many to be
the Son of God.

Some high officials and Jewish priests, however, felt that he was trying to usurp their
authority and mislead the people. They hatched a plot against Christ with the help of one of
his 12 apostles, named Judas. On charges of misleading the people, of instigating them not
to pay taxes to the emperor, and of claiming to be the messenger of God, they arrested
Christ. The following day, he was produced before a council comprising priests, teachers of
law and elders, and questioned about the charges against him.

Finding him guilty on all counts, they presented him before the Roman Governor, who saw
no reason to condemn him. But the priests were adamant. They insisted that it was his
teachings, which were responsible for all the riots in the city of Judea. At the same time, they
pleaded for the release of one of their men, who had been imprisoned for the crime. The
Governor appealed to them, reiterating that Christ had done no wrong. When the clergy did
not agree, he handed Jesus Christ to them to do as they wished. The crowd asked for his
crucifixion.

As he was led away by the soldiers, he was made to wear a crown of thorns and mockingly
addressed as 'King of the Jews' by the jeering crowd. A huge wooden cross was placed on his
shoulders, and he carried it to the place assigned for his crucifixion. In a show of solidarity, a
group of his followers marched in a procession behind him. Two criminals were also led to
the same place to be put to death with Jesus.

At the assigned place, the three men were nailed to the crosses and left to die. Before he
breathed his last, Jesus asked God, his father, to forgive those who were responsible for his
death, as they were unaware of the magnitude of their sin. Jesus is believed to have died at
3 o'clock in the afternoon, three hours after being nailed to the cross.

On Good Friday, a cross, symbolic of the one on which Jesus was crucified, is unveiled in
many churches. It is believed that Jesus rose from his grave on the following Sunday, which
is celebrated as Easter. The rituals for Good Friday begin on the preceding Thursday. A feast
symbolizing the last supper of Christ is held on Thursday night. The end of this meal marks
the beginning of the fast for Easter.

The Celebrations
The Celebrations in Panjim, hundreds of devout Goan Catholics gather in the Panjim Church
of Mary Immaculate Conception to listen to mass and participate in the Way of the Cross.
During the afternoon sermon, the priests narrate the sufferings that Jesus Christ took upon
himself for the sake of humanity.

The mass is in Konkani, Goa's state language, attracts a crowd too large for the church itself,
and people stand in the doorways and in the premises, dressed in formal clothes with
somber countenance.

The Ceremony
After the mass, the crucifix, which until this time has been kept from view, is now uncovered
before the crowd for veneration. A very somber ceremony, "the Way ofthe Cross " is a
reenactment of the path Jesus took on Mount Calvary before the Crucifixion.

In Panjim, which draws the largest crowd, a large wooden cross-carried by an image of Jesus
is taken from the church, down the steps, and through the streets of the town. It is carried
by the clergymen while the crowd follows in two parallel lines in front of and in back of the
statue, some weeping and all with very solemn faces.

Those not participating in the actual procession look on from the roadsides, both Hindus and
Christians alike. Somber music played by a band accompanies the procession, which slowly
winds its way through the main streets in Panjim before returning to the church. The mass
and procession occur in every church in Goa, but the one in Panjim draws the largest crowd.

Easter is one of the best celebrations in Christian religion. It is said that on this day Jesus Christ
alive back after three days of his death. This festival comes after two days of Good Friday. Here
good is means or comes from God or God’s.
Some scripture of Christians mean it in real but in different way. They call death of Jesus Christ
good due to soul of Jesus goes t o heaven on this day. Christians arrange pray and worship to
Jesus Christ for well being of them.
Eggs are very important thing on Easter day. Eggs are the symbol of born or new life. So Egg
hunting is the game played by children’s on this day.
Jesus Christ is worshiped by singing Easter song by Christians at Church

Urs Of Sharif Sailani Shah Miyan is a very famous urs fair and well known festival in India. The
Sailani Shah Miyan was a very famous saint of Muslim community. Many devotes comes from
different places to here. Many peoples come here to offer flowers , chader etc. to their Sailani
Shah Miyan.
The Sharif Sailani Shah Miyan was great sufi saint of Muslim community.
This day many people go with their families to fair and have enjoy. qwwalies and devotional
songs also being sung by professional quawali singers.They goes to the mosque of Sharif
Sailani Shah Miyan and pray for health and wealth.

Buddha Poornima, which falls on the full moon night in the month of Vaisakha (either in April
or May), commemorates the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha, founder of Buddhism.
Notwithstanding the summer heat (the temperature routinely touches 45 degrees C), pilgrims
come from all over the world to Bodh Gaya to attend the Buddha Poornima celebrations. The
day is marked with prayer meets, sermons on the life of Gautam Buddha, religious discourses,
continuous recitation of Buddhist scriptures, group meditation, processions, worship of the statue
of Buddha. The Mahabodhi Temple wears a festive look and is decorated with colourful flags
and flowers. The Chinese scholar, Fa-Hien has recorded celebration of this festival.

It is an important to give a summarized description on the Buddhist festivals in India, especially


in the main places of worship. The principal annual ceremony for all the Buddhist is the Vaisaka
Purnima known in Sri Lanka as Wesak festival and in India as Buddha Jayanti. Vaisaka Purnima
day is fixed by the full-moon day of the month Vaisaka, which falls in May. Like all other
Buddhist festivals it falls according to the Lunar year. It was of this day of the year, according to
the year.

He attained Supreme Enlighten or Buddha hood, beneath the Bodhi-tree at Boddha Gaya. Forty-
five years later at the age of eighty, he finally passed away in Parinivana on the same day of the
year at Kushinagar. Vaisaka Purnima is celebrated especially in Boddha Gaya, Lumbini and in
Kushinara as they are the holy places that were connected with the blessed ones birth, enlighten
and the Parinirvana. Buddhists in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Tibet, China, Korea, Laos,
Vietnam, Mongolia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Nepal, Japan and quite a number of western Buddhists
participate 'Vaisaka' Purnima Day religious activities in a festive mood. Sarnath the capital of
Buddhism too celebrates Vaisaka Purnima day in a grand way.

The great Buddhist festival 'Vaisaka' ,although is an occasion for rejoicing doesn't encourage
hectic gaiety and abandon. The happiness that the Buddhists feel when they are celebrating it is a
tranquil, peaceful joy. The festival has its gay side as well. In most of the Buddhist countries the
villages, roads, streets, temples and houses are brightly illuminated with color Lanterns, electric
lights and colorful decorations.

Guru Purnima
Gururbrahmaa gururvishnuh gururdevo Maheswarah |
Guruh-saakshaat parambrahma tasmai shrigurave namah ||

“Guru is creator Brahma; Guru is preserver Vishnu; Guru is also the


destroyer Siva and he is the source of the Absolute. I offer all my
salutations to the Guru”.

Introduction

The full moon day in the month of Ashadh (July) of the Hindu calendar is celebrated
as Guru Purnima by all Hindus all over. This day is celebrated as a mark of respect
to the “Guru” i.e. a teacher or a preacher.

This day is celebrated in the sacred memory of the great sage Vyasa, the ancient
saint who compiled the four Vedas, wrote 18 Puranas, the Mahabharata and the
Srimad Bhagavata.

The day, also known as “Vyasa Purnima” is observed by devotees who offer pujas
(worship) to their beloved Gurus. Sage Vyasa is known to be the Adi (original) Guru
of the Hindu religion. The auspicious day of Vyaasa Poornima has a great
significance as everybody knows that the role of a Guru in real life is very much
important.

Celebration

Hindus show much respect to their gurus. Gurus are often regarded as God. The
Shvetashvatara Upanishad (6/23) tells :

“Yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau


Tasyaite kathitaa hi arthaaha prakashante mahatmanaha”

This means, Guru to be worshipped in the same manner as the deity - God, to attain
all there is to attain on the path of God-realization. When this Self is within you
where is the need to search for someone to teach you!

On this day several programs and cultural performances are organized by spiritual
organizations. Divine discourse and bhajan samarohas are also organized to make
the day more special.

In India, Guru Purnima is celebrated at various ashrams, especially with much


grandeur at Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh. The day is celebrated here on a grand
scale with devotees coming from various parts of the country. The same is also
celebrated at ashram of Satya Sai Baba at Puttaparthy, Ashram in Amritapuri and
few other places of spiritual importance. Guru Purnima is also celebrated few places
outside India.

This is a day for spiritual seekers who remain extremely open to their gurus to
receive divine power, and for this reason holy people choose this day to shower
everyone with their most auspicious divine blessings.

Significance

The day of Guru Purnima has great significance for spiritual sadhaks and farmers.
All spiritual aspirants and devotees worship Vyasa in honor of his divine personage
and all disciples perform 'puja' of their respective spiritual preceptor or 'Gurudevas'.
They offer flowers and sweets to their spiritual gurus. It is also good time to begin
spiritual lessons from a guru. Traditionally, spiritual seekers commence to intensify
their spiritual 'sadhana' from this day.

The day also finds a great importance for farmers. The period 'Chaturmas' ("four
months") begins from this day. The water, drawn up and stored as clouds in the hot
summer, now manifests in plentiful showers that brings fresh life everywhere.

Bihu Festival

¤ The Lively Celebration

“Bihu anondia, Bihu binondia


Bihur mou mitha hat
Bihur ba lagi bihua kokair e
Deu dhoni laguse gat.”
(Bihu is full of joy, Bihu is beautiful,
Bihu songs are very sweet, when the winds of Bihu flow
The dancing spirit possesses one’s body).

The breathtaking hills and valleys of Assam come alive with the sound of Bihu thrice a year. A
festival that marks the change of season, Bihu is accompanied both by prayer and great rejoicing.
One of the seven northeastern states of India (which are also known as the Seven Sisters), Assam
is renowned for its picturesque landscape, exotic fauna and fun-loving people.

¤ Origin of Festival

Originating in the pre-Aryan days around 3500 b.c., the festival of Bihu used to last for a whole
month, though nowadays work pressure has reduced it to a week. A no holds barred dancing
session is the most intriguing part of the festival and symbolises the fertility rites of the original
inhabitants of the hilly regions of the northeast in India. The farmers fancied that the erotic
content of the songs would sexually arouse the earth’s body, leading to an abundant harvest.

Bihag Bihu or Rangoli Bihu, the first of the three Bihus, is celebrated in the month of April on
the dates coinciding with the sankranti, chait or baisak (13, 14 and 15 April).

¤ Festival Celebration During The Assamese New Year

According to the solar calendar that the Assamese follow, the New Year usually falls on 14th
April. Brilliantly-coloured flowers and luxuriant foliage dress the whole of Assam in all the hues
of the rainbow during the month of April. An abundance of kopoful (orchids), mostly purple in
colour, in unusual shapes and sizes dot the trees, and the bhebel creepers are in full bloom
creating an enchanting kaleidoscope of colours. No one can fault the Assamese his choice of
seasons for the Bihu festivals.

The vivid attire of the Assamese youth and the colourful accessories like kopoful adorning the
hair of the young lasses blend with the hues of nature, spreading joy and good cheer. The day is
marked with dancing, though restricted exclusively to men, who participate with unbridled
enthusiasm and energy. But the winds of change have blown through this remote state also.
Surrendering to contemporary trends, youngsters gather in the town centre and learn the steps
from an old hand much in demand on this day.
This festival marks the beginning of New Year in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and
parts of Karnataka.

This festival is known as Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra and Ugadi in Karnataka and
Andhra Pradesh. It has become a custom to hold Kavi Sammelans (Poetry recitals)
this day.
Gudi Padwa is considered one of the four
most auspicious days in the year when people start new ventures.

It is believed that Lord Brahma, created the world on this day and so he is
worshiped specially at this time.

Lord Vishnu too is said to have incarnated as Matsya, the fish, on this day.

A gudi (banner) with a swastika -marked metal pot and silk cloth is raised to
announce victory and joy. In Maharashtra, it is reminiscent of the valiant Marathas
returning home from their successful expeditions of war. Maharashtrian take the
opportunity to honour their favourite leader, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

People prepare for the New Year by cleaning and washing their houses and buying
new clothes. On the festival day they decorate their houses with mango leaves and
'rangoli' designs, and pray for a prosperous new year, and visit the temples to listen
to the yearly calendar 'Panchangasravanam' as priests make predictions for the
coming year.

Traditionally bitter leaves of the neem tree with jaggery were given as Prasad of
Ugadi/Gudi Padwa.

Gudi Padwa is considered as an auspicious occasion to buy ornaments, house and


other new things.

The festival is celebrated when the heat of sun began intensifying and the time of
harvesting the crop has come. The fragrance of ripening Mangoes, Jackfruit and
other seasonal fruits fill the air with sweet smell and are ready to be sold to the
marketplaces. Shrubs and trees are blooming with flowers.

Gudi Padwa, also known as Ugadi, is celebrated on the first day of the Hindu month
of Chaitra shukla Padyami, which corresponds to end of March or beginning of April
according to the Gregorian calendar. This festival marks the beginning of 'Vasant' or
spring.

Indian society is largely dependendent on agriculture and e celebrations and


festivals are often linked with changing seasons and to the sowing and reaping of
crops. The word 'padwa' is a Sanskrit word for crop, which literally means
'Pradurbhu.' This day also marks the end of one harvest and the beginning of a new
one, which for an agricultural community would signify the beginning of a New Year.
Gudi Padwa is celebrated at the end of the Rabi season.

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Rathyatra - Chariot Festival - Orrisa


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Introduction

Celebrations

This spectacular chariot festival celebrated for 8 days is held


at the famous Jagannath Temple at Puri (Orissa). Thousands of devotees flock to Puri during
the occasion, as they believe that a glimpse of Lord Jagannath in his chariot gives salvation.
Images of Lord Jagannath - the Lord of the Universe, his sister Subhadra and brother
Balbhadra are taken out in a procession in three immense chariots. The main chariot is 14
meters high and 10 meters square with 16 wheels.

Thousands of devotees pull these chariots to Gundicha Mandir, a temple 3 km away. After a
week, on 'Ashadha Sukla Dasami', the 10th day of the bright fortnight of Ashadha (June-July),
return journey or 'Bahuda Yatra' of the deities commences in the same manner from
Gundicha temple to the main temple like Rath Yatra.When two months of Ashadha fall in one
year, Rath Yatra is observed as the festival of 'Nabakalebar' the old deities are buried within
the temple premises ('Koilibaikuntha') and are replaced by new deities, carved out of
Margosa trees for which there are set procedures. Double Ashadha occurs at intervals of 8 to
19 years. Construction of the chariots begin as early as April.

Jagannath Rath Yatra or the' chariot journey of Lord Jagannatha', observed in the month of
Ashadha (June-July), is a festival that celebrates the annual visit of the God to his birthplace.
The Jagannath Temple at Puri, Orissa is the venue for all celebrations. Several lakh people
converge at Puri for this festival. An atmosphere of almost hysterical devotion prevails on
this day and in earlier years; devotees were known to have thrown themselves under the
wheels of the rath in the hope of obtaining instant salvation.

Images of Jagannath, as Lord Krishna is known, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra,
are taken in giant chariots to Gundicha Ghar. They stay there for a week and then return to
the temple. On their journeys they are accompanied by a huge procession of people, singing
and celebrating.

The Legends behind the Yatra The festival has been celebrated since ancient times.
According to a legend about its origin, Jagannatha is said to have expressed his desire to
visit his birthplace every year for a week. Accordingly, the deities are taken to the Gundicha
Mandir every year.

According to another legend, Subhadra wanted to visit Dwarka, her parent's home, and her
brothers took her there on this day. The Yatra is a commemoration of that visit.

According to the Bhagavad Purana, it is believed that it was on this day that Krishna and
Balarama went to Mathura to participate in a wrestling competition, at Kansa's invitation.

Some Hindus believe that Jagannatha is an incarnation of Vishnu. Since Vishnu has four
arms, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshana represent Vishnu's four arms. Each deity has
its own massive chariot, which are replicas of the temple. Jagannatha's chariot,
Nandighosha, is yellow in color, 45 ft high and has 16 wheels, each one seven feet in
diameter. About 4,200 devotees draw the chariot. Balabhadra's chariot is called Taladhvaja,
is blue in color and has 14 wheels. Subhadra's chariot is the smallest, with 12 wheels and is
called Deviratha.

Origin of the chariot rideAccording to a legend, when a poisonous arrow accidentally killed
Krishna, his body was left under a tree. Later, someone cremated him and placed the ashes
in a box. Directed by Vishnu, Indradyumna requested the divine artisan Vishvakarma to
mould an image from the holy relics. Vishvakarma agreed to undertake the task, provided
that he was left undisturbed till its completion. When several years passed, Indradyumna
became impatient and went to see how work was progressing. Enraged, Vishvakarma left
the image incomplete. Indradyumna had ordered the construction of a temple to house the
statue. So he ordered his chariot to transport the statue, as it was, to the temple. There,
Brahma breathed life into the image.

The Rituals On the day of the journey, people get up early and offer prayers to Jagannatha.
The chariots are lined up in front of the Puri temple. The King of Puri with great pomp and
ceremony then brings the deities to their respective chariots. Devotees offer prayers to the
deities. Descendants of the King, heralded by gaily-caparisoned elephants sweep the chariot
platforms with a gold-handled broom and sprinkle scented water to demonstrate that in the
eyes of God, all men are equal. Devotees also hurl obscenities and profane abuses at the
God.
Locals believe that there existed an incestuous
relationship between Jagannatha and his sister Subhadra, which provoked abuses when the
images were out in public. The entire yatra is a symbolic humanization of God and an
attempt to bring God down from his pedestal of glory to a more human level.

Only the King of Puri and the King of Nepal are allowed to touch the idols as they belong to
the Chandravanshi dynasty, the same as Krishna. Then the teeming pilgrims line up and pull
the chariot.

When the chariots reach the summerhouse, the idols are installed. The journey back, a week
later, consists of another ritual, known as Phera Rath Yatra.Every year, the chariots are
broken down, its wood sold as relics and a replica made. However the images of the deities
are preserved. It is only when two Ashadha months occur one after the other that the
images are changed. This happens once in 12 or 24 years. The ceremony, Naba Kalebar,
consists of burying the old images inside the temple. Then new images are created. This
practice stems from the belief that in such a year, everything in the universe changes form,
and therefore Jagannatha receives the same treatment.

This day is a public holiday in the state. Children are seen on the streets carrying miniature
versions of the chariots with tiny idols installed on them. Shops and houses are decorated
with flowers, lights and rangoli. Special dishes and sweets are prepared. Most people refrain
from eating non-vegetarian food. As this festival falls during the monsoon season, people
also thank the Gods for their mercy and bounty, by participating in the procession. Nowhere
else is a deity, once consecrated, taken out of the temple. The Jagannatha Temple at Puri is
the sole exception to this general rule. In fact during the Ratha Yatra, the chariots become
mobile temples, which sanctify the city.