Ratha Yatra (रथ यात्रा)
Ratha Yatra is a Hindu festival associated with Lord Jagannath held at Puri, Odisha.
The festival commemorates Jagannath’s annual visit to Gundicha Temple via Mausi Maa Temple (maternal aunt’s home) near Puri.
The story of King Indradyumna and the creation of this Jagannath temple is mentioned in Skanda purana, Vaishnav khanda, Utkal khanda (Purushottama Kshetra Mahatmya)
In the chapter 91 of the same purana , the description of Ratha Yatra, its time and duration is mentioned.
Timing of this Yatra
This annual festival is celebrated on Ashadha Shukla Paksha Dwitiya (आषाढस्य सिते पक्षे द्वितीया पुष्यसंयुता)
Why Ratha Yatra is celebrated as an Annual Event ?
It is due to the boon which lord himself has given to King Indradyumna.
विन्दुतीर्थतटे तस्मिन्सप्ताहानि जनार्दनः ।।
तिष्ठेत्पुरा स्वयं राज्ञे वरमेतत्समादिशत् ।।
त्वत्तीर्थतीरे राजेंद्र स्थास्यामि प्रतिवत्सरम् ।।
सर्वतीर्थानि तस्मिंश्च स्थास्यंति मयि तिष्ठति ।।
तत्र स्नात्वा विधानेन तीर्थे तीर्थोघपावने ।।
सप्ताहं ये प्रपश्यंति गुंडिचामण्डपे स्थितम् ।।
मां च रामं सुभद्रां च मत्सायुज्यमवाप्नुयुः ।।
Lord going to Gundicha town on the shore Vindutirth (विन्दुतीर्थ), rest for seven days, because in ancient times Lord has give a boon to King Indradyumna (इन्द्रद्युम्न)
“I will rest near your tirth (तीर्थ) ever year. My being here, each and every other tirth will also reside here. Those devotees who take bath in this tirth and visits me, Balarama and Subhadra, they will achieve me by doing the same”
What is duration of Ratha Yatra ?
यात्राप्रवेशौ देवस्य एक एवोत्सवो मतः ।।
पुराविदो वदंत्येतां यात्रां नवदिनात्मिकाम् ।।
These seven day when clubbed with going day and coming day, it becomes a nine day festival.