INDIA. Odisha: The auspicious Jagannath Rath Yatra commenced today, marking the beginning of one of the highly anticipated festivals of the year. The holy city of Puri in Odisha is adorned with three magnificent chariots, meticulously constructed every year for the annual Rath yatra. These wooden chariots are crafted by traditional carpenters who possess exceptional skills despite the absence of formal training.
Considered the second largest Rath Yatra in the country, the ‘Rath Yatra’ Festival celebrated in Ahmedabad is surpassed only by the grand celebration of the Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra.
However, Manipur has made the difficult decision to suspend the annual Royal Rath Yatra procession due to the prevailing ethnic violence. The ongoing conflict has tragically claimed the lives of over 100 people and left thousands displaced. Nabakumar Sharma, a member of the Brahma Sabha, expressed the rationale behind this decision, stating, “We have chosen not to hold the annual public royal Rath Yatra (Kang) procession due to the unrest and violence in the state. This is the first time we have abstained from the procession since the Covid period.”
In light of the Jagannath Rath Yatra, Indian President Droupadi Murmu extended her warm wishes. The President took to Twitter, expressing her sentiments in both Hindi and Odia languages.
Her tweet read, “On the occasion of the commencement of the Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath, I extend my heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to all the citizens, especially the devotees of Lord Jagannath. I pray to Mahaprabhu Jagannath that this festival of devotion and dedication brings happiness, peace, and prosperity to everyone’s life. Jai Jagannath.”
Furthermore, the renowned sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik has paid a remarkable tribute to the holy festival by creating a 6ft high sand sculpture of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Devi Subhadra, along with three chariots. Using 250 coconuts, he skillfully crafted this masterpiece on the shores of Puri beach, showcasing his immense talent and capturing the essence of the festival.