Sunday, 2 June 2019

The three amazing chariots of Jagannath temple, Puri

The three chariots, Jagannath temple, Puri. hegr8wall.wordpress.com
The three chariots of Jagannath temple puri. with different colored canopyodiaportal.in.
Rathyatra or chariot festival is an important one in hundreds of Hindu temples across India. The religious significance is : the temple-shaped chariots,  as in the case of  the Puri Rath Yatra festival or the Azhi Ther (ratha)  festival of Thyagaraja temple of Tiruvarur,  Tamil Nadu,  have a unique meaning. The concept of ratha is  explained in the holy text, the Katha Upanishad. The chariot represents the body, and the deity inside the chariot is the soul. Wisdom acts as the charioteer that controls the mind and its thoughts.While riding the chariot/ratha charioteer has to use his discretion to reach the destination carefully. So are the humans when facing  unexpected impediments in their lives.
Among the  Hindu temples of India that celebrate the annual chariot festival, the most popular one is that of the Rathyatra of Jagannath temple, Puri, Odisha.  It is the oldest Ratha Yatra taking place in India and the World, whose descriptions can be found in Brahma Purana, Padma Purana, and Skanda Purana and Kapila Samhita.  Lord Jagannath, it is said,  attracts the largest crowd of devotees during the festival time.  Involved in this grand spectacular event are the three colorful chariots that carry the idol of  Balabhadra, Subhadra and Jagannatha. A note-worthy feature, unlike most Hindu temple is the chariots are  constructed afresh every year. So are the chariot wheels. For this purpose, specified wood is used taken  from select trees like phassi, dhausa, etc. The logs of wood should be from the ex-princely state of Dasapalla and the custom still continues today. The wood is chosen by a  team of skilled and knowledgeable carpenters  who enjoy hereditary rights and privilege for this particular purpose. It is also mentioned that the logs are traditionally set afloat as rafts in the river Mahanadi and are collected near Puri. From here they reach the destination by truck through the road. 
The builders of Jagannath chariots meticulously follow a traditional scheme  of decoration and construction that has been vogue for centuries. The huge chariots covered with  bright canopies made of stripes of red cloth combined with those of black, yellow and blue colours,  and are parked on the  Bada Danda - the Grand Avenue  right in front of the majestic temple close to its eastern entrance, also known as the Sinhadwara or the Lion’s Gate. The three chariots at distance may look alike, but if you take a close look at them, you can see the discernible difference among them. The canopies over the  chariots cover approximately 1,250 meters of intricately embroidered green, black, yellow, and red cloth. This work on  the chariots is done by a team of tailors who make cushions for the gods to rest on as well.
Jagannath temple Puri, Odisha. .bhubaneswarbuzz.com
The chariot of Lord Jagannatha called Nandighosa  is forty-five feet high and forty-five feet eide  at the wheel level. It has sixteen wheels, each with seven feet diameter, and is decked with a canopy made of red and yellow cloth. Lord Jagannatha is actually Lord Sri Krishna and he wears  golden yellow robes and hence  we see the distinguishing yellow stripes on the canopy of this chariot. The  white  color is  for Balabhadra, dark color is for Jagannatha and the red one is for Subhadra.  All around  each of the chariots, there are  painted wooden images representing different deities on the chariots and nine Parsva devatas.
Puri Jagannath Chariot. wheels alamy.com
The Chariot of Lord Balabhadra, called the Taladhwaja (40 feet tall), has the Palm Tree on its flag and  has fourteen wheels, each of  them with seven feet diameters and is covered with red and blue cloth. 

The Chariot of Subhadra, often referred to as Darpadalana is 
forty-three feet high with twelve wheels, each of  them with seven feet diameters. This Chariot is  red and black cloth, black  on 
the canopy implying  that the goddess  is traditionally regarded 
as personification of Shakti and the Mother goddess. These
 chariots have  three charioteers Matali, Daruka and Arjuna representing Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Subhadra respectively

The details are as follows:
The rathyatra, a grand procession,  includes only three chariots. This year it commences on 4 July and Bahda Jatra (return of rathas) is on 13 July. The three rathas will be at Gudicha temple, which is about 2 km from the main temple for 9 days where daily (nithya) pujas will be done to the deities.

Nandighosha:eNandighoshaight45 feet, six inches.Nandighosha
Number and Height of Wheels: 16 wheels measuring six feet in diameter.
Chariot Colors: Yellow and red. (Lord Jagannath is associated with Lord Krishna, also known as Pitambara, "the one draped in golden yellow robes").
Horse Color: White.
Charioteer: Daruka.
Lord Balabhadra:
Chariot Name: Taladhwaja -- meaning "one with the palm tree on its flag".
Chariot Height: 45 feet.
Number and Height of Wheels: 14 wheels measuring six feet six inches in diameter.
Chariot Colors: Green and red.
Horse Color: Black.
Charioteer: Matali.

Devi Subhadra:
Chariot Name: Debadalana -- meaning literally, "trampler of pride".
Chariot Height: 44 feet, six inches.
Number and Height of Wheels: 12 wheels, measuring six feet eight inches in diameter.
Chariot Colors: Black and red. (Black is traditionally associated with female energy shakti and the Mother Goddess).
Horse Color: Red.
Charioteer: Arjuna.
https://www.tripsavvy.com/making-of-the-puri-rath-yatra-chariots-1539264
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jagannath_Temple,_Puri