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Ratha Yatra Starts
At the height of Indian summer, right at the beginning of the Monsoon, the Lord of Puri goes to his garden palace for the annual summer vacation. Originally the festival has its foundation in the residents of Vrindavan bringing back their Lords, Krishna, Balaram and Lady Subhadra from Kurukshetra.
Today in Puri He, the Lord of the Universe travels in some style from his temple in Puri, to his garden temple, located outside the town centre called Gundicha. Thousands of Hindus flock to see, and to pull the grand chariots from one temple to the other. The English word “Jagannaut” comes from the giantchariots of Lord Jagannath of Puri. The British were so stunned by the size of the chariots, they coined a word for it!
In Puri, Lord Jagannath is worshipped with his elder brother Bala-Rama and his sister Subhadra. Each sibling has his / her own chariot and goes to the summer residence with great pomp. Each of the chariots is covered in distinctly coloured cloth. Various symbols and signs help pilgrims distinguish between the three gods. As a mark of respect, and humbleness, the king of Puri sweeps the chariots of the Gods of Puri. Festival begins with a huge fanfare of conches, trumpets, drums and cymbals. Accompanied by music and dancers, the divine travellers begin their journey to the garden temple.