Undoubtedly the 9-day Rath Yatra held in June-July is one of the largest festivals you can every witness. This festival is actually a colossal procession of three chariots bearing idols of Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra on the Grand Road. Symbolising Lord Jagannath's legendary return to the earth, the chariots make way from the temple to his palace in the countryside. The construction of these huge chariots begin months in advance, since each carriage has different specifications. The idols of the three deities are also built of special wood and replaced with new ones every 12 years. The most exciting part of this festival is the Ratha Tana or pulling of the chariots by devotees, which is considered extremely auspicious. After nine days of joyous revelries, the three deities return to their original temple in a ceremony called Bahuda Yatra or the Return Festival. This is marked by a halt at the Mausima Temple where the deities are offered a sweet called podapitha. Thereafter, the deities are dressed on gold ornaments and the journey continues to the temple, signifying the end of the Rath Yatra.
Held in April, Chandan Yatra involves carrying deities to the Narendra Sarovara, where they are bathed in sandalwood and scented waters. Another popular festival is the Snana Yatra, during which the deities are brought to the Snana-Mandapa in a procession called Pahandi, and pots of water are poured on them by devotees. Celebrated post Snana Yatra, is the Anavasara Festival, when Lord Jagannath suffers from fever and medicines prepared from fruit juice are offered to him. A particularly prominent festival is the Navakalevara or the body-changing festival, held every 12 years. This involves the cutting of a specific mango tree for constructing the idols of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra. When the new idols are installed in the temple, the old images are buried in Koili-Baikuntha. Post installation, the deities are prepared for the Car Festival.
If you have a chance, don't miss out on the Puri Beach Festival held of the beaches of Puri and which gives you a unique opportunity for visitors to interact with the locals. A number of interesting activities like fashion shows, sand art and rock shows mark this festival.
Top Hotels in Puri
- Hotel Pushpa Berries Group Of Hotels
- Hotel Shakti International
- Hotel Golden Dust
- Fort Mahodadhi
- Hotel Puri Beach Resort
Top Landmarks in Puri
- Hotels Near Puri Sea Beach
- Hotels Near Swargadwar Beach
- Hotels Near Chilika Lake
- Hotels Near Puri Railway Station
- Hotels Near Konark Chandrabhaga Beach