The streets of Puri, Odisha, are bursting with colour and fervour today. On account of the famous chariot festival, Rath Yatra, of course! Here you are perched in front of a screen, reading this. Feeling FOMO? Us too.
For the uninitiated, the Rath Yatra is a celebration of Lord Jagannath’s annual return to his birthplace. Thousands of people gather to pull three chariots carrying seven deities, taking them across the Jagannath and Gundicha temples in Puri. The twelve-day event is a riot of joy and togetherness.
Here’s why you need to attend the festivities at least once in your life:
1. Spiritual Bliss
It is said that those who help others pull the chariot or touch its ropes, become one with the deity. If you’re in search for spiritual merit and liberation, you might find it here. PS: Mass concentration of devotion might be peaceful or at least interesting for non-believers too!
2. Delectable Treats
Imagine a treat so good that even Gods can’t resist it! Odisha’s traditional dessert, Poda Pitha is said to be Lord Jagannath’s favourite. Also feast on other sweets like khaja and malpua or savoury dishes such as the scrumptious vegetable curry, santula.
3. Cultural Connect
One of the Char Dhams (four pilgrimages each Hindu must make), Puri’s Jagannath Temple serves grandeur on a plate. Add to this the vibrant culture of Odisha, a total bucket-list experience! Never too late to learn something new, yes?
4. Patience Test
I mean, let’s be honest. Hoards of human beings crowding the streets can’t be a cakewalk to handle. You can look forward to truly experiencing the spirit of human strength and unity!
5. Explore Puri
Now that you’re there, what sort of a traveller would you be if you didn’t look around? Apart from the temples, you must experience Puri’s beauty in all its glory. From Puri Beach to the popular Chilika Lake, there’s no dearth of places to visit when in Odisha!