Rath Yatra: Same Tradition Different Flavours

Bhubaneswar: Every year, Rath Yatra brings in a different definition of spiritual joy for people across the globe. While some follow the rituals, creating a replica of the Rath Yatra in Puri, some do it a little differently, making the celebration unique.

Here is a glimpse of the celebrations in different parts of Odisha:


In this district of Odisha, 40-year-old Aparna Dhir Singh, scion of the Gadamadhupur royal family performs the sacred ritual ‘Chera Pahanra’ of the chariot. She has been doing it since the last 10 years, bringing a change in the 400-year-old tradition of the family. She was coronated king after the demise of her father Raja Birabara Krunshaprasad Dhir Singh in 2007 in the absence of a male heir.

Rath Yatra in the Dharmasala constituency of this district is adheres to a different tradition. The ‘Chhera Pahanra’ is conducted by the IIC of Dharmasala police station. They have been doing this since 2016. This year, IIC Umakanta Nayak will perform the ceremonial sweeping on the chariot.


The festival in this district is being celebrated at Tulasi Khetra. The 64-feet-long chariot of Baladev is the state’s second tallest and in terms of its grandeur and popularity, it is next to Puri.

The rest of the rituals followed are the same as in Puri.

Baripada-Three-day procession

Popular as Odisha’s second Srikhetra, Baripada, has its own unique way of celebration. The Netro Utsav and Naba Jaubana ‘darshan’ of the deities was held yesterday and the deities were brought out in a ‘pahandi’, today like it is done in Puri but the chariots will be pulled a day later i.e., Sunday.

What makes the tradition unique is the completion of the chariot procession in three days unlike the single-day event at Puri. The deities ascend the chariots on Yatra day but the journey begins a day later. While Lord Balabhadra’s chariot is pulled first to Mausi Maa Mandir (local Ambika Mandir), Darpadalana of Subhadra is pulled till half-way and is continued the next day. It is followed by Nandighosha of Lord Jagannath.

Another unique aspect of Rath Yatra in Baripada is that Devi Subhadra’s chariot is pulled by women devotees only. It has been a practice since 1975. Women devotees from different parts of the state throng the town to pull the chariot. It is said that pulling the chariots washes off all the sins.


The tribals of Simplipal Biosphere Reserve area here pull the chariots at Gadialbandh village on the occasion of Snana Purnima. They have been celebrating the festival in their unique traditional way of Snana Purnima since 1987.

Unlike the procession in Puri, where chariots go for the nine-day annual sojourn to their aunt’s place on Rath Yatra, the idols here are taken to Mausi Maa for a one-night stay. The journey is resumed the next day to the aunt’s place around one kilometer from the village.

Jambeswara Patana Sahi, Bhubaneswar

This temple celebrates the festival in a unique manner where more than 100 children pull the chariots organized by Jambeswara Patana Sahi Ratha Yatra Committee.  Committee Secretary Basanta Samartha said the chariots will go to Ganga Jamuna Temple through Tinimundia and Lingaraj Temple.


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