The world-famous Jagannath Rath Yatra will begin today from Puri in Odisha. For Jagannath Rath Yatra, lakhs of people will converge at Jagannath Temple in Puri to witness Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra riding three giant wooden chariots which are pulled by devotees as they travel to Gundicha temple.
The Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra, oldest in the state, is about three-kilometre long.
Jagannath Rath Yatra, also called "chariot festival", marks the annual journey of the three deities from the 12th century Jagannath temple in the chariots to the temple of Devi Gundicha, their aunt. The celebration ends nine days later with Bahuda Yatra or the return journey of the three to their temple.
The 'pahandi' of the deities begin in the morning when the three gods along with Lord Sudarsana are taken out in a procession to their chariots parked in front of the Jagannath temple. The entire Bada Danda (grand road) reverberates with the sounds of ghanta (cymbals), kahali (type of flute), mahuri (a double reeded instrument), pakhauja (a variant of mridangam), mardal (similar to pakhawaj) and bells when the procession begins.
After the deities are placed on their respective chariots, they are pulled by the people from all religions and walks of life. The Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra draws about a million devotees from across the country every year.
The chariots of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are respectively known as Nandighosh, Taladhwaja and Padmadhwaja.
The Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra will be taken out amidst tight security to prevent any law and order problem.