Rath Yatra Live
The famous Chariot festival falls in the month of Asadha, from 2 sukla to 10 sukla, for a total of 9 days.
The particular period of the year is significant because it is and integral part of a precise cycle, both
ritualistic and natural. Jagannatha’s Ratha yatra is connected to the beginning of the monsoon season. The
popular songs and comments of the Dahuka (the Sevaka charioteer) during the journey of the rathas are
connected to fertility. It is also said that Dahuka is also the name of a bird that starts chirping at the
beginning of the monsoon. It is said that the Sabaras of the Gunupur-Ganjam belt in Orissa still observe a
Car festival on the eve of the monsoon. Wooden chariots with four wheels (but without Deities) travel from
the Godali (“starting point”) and when the chariots reach the next village old earthen pots containing
cooked rice are broken before them to propitiate a good harvest for the next year.
The tradition of Ratha yatras or Car Festivals is very ancient and widespread and is still followed today
on a variety of dates in many places. Specifically, the date of the festival is strictly connected with the
personality traveling on the chariot. Lingaraja’s Ratha yatra is traditionally held in Bhubaneswar on Ashoka
Ashtami (Chaitra Sukla Ashtami), and lasts for one day. In Nepal the Ratha Yatra festival is held every year
in the month of Vaisakha; Bhairava is traveling on the Ratha instead of Jagannatha. Similarly, in Bengal
, there are Ratha yatras for Radha and Krishna during the month of Kartika and on Janmashtami.
. However, Jagannatha’s Ratha yatra can only be performed on a specific day as per traditional calculation – on Asadha sukla Dvitiya.