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Rath Yatra: Festival Date, History, Significance, Celebration

Published Date: 03-Nov-2022

Rath Yatra which literally means, ‘Festival of Chariots’ is mainly associated with the Hindu and Buddhist community of India. On this day, the idols of Lord Jagannath and his siblings are decorated and brought to cover a 3-km-long journey (from Jagannath Temple to the Gundicha Temple) in chariots drawn by over hundreds of devotees, every year.

According to the Hindu calendar, Rath Yatra is observed on the second day of Ashadha month i.e., late June or early July. In ancient literature, this day is referred to as Ashadha Shukla Paksha Dwitiya. In 2023, Rath Yatra will take place on 20 June (Tuesday).

Rath Yatra History and Significance

Rath Yatra 2022 | History and significance

Rath Yatra 2023 | History and significance

The word ‘Jagannath’ is derived from the Sanskrit language that translates to ‘Lord of the Universe’ in English; Lord Jagannath is considered as a form of Lord Vishnu.

Holy literature including Brahma Purana, Padma Purana and Skanda Purana describe this festival as one of the most prominent festivals of the Hindu religion. According to the texts, the origin of this day dates back to the 12th century. The holy rituals of this festival include the procession of three chariots; for carrying Lord Jagannath, brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra, for a 3-km-long procession till the Gundicha Temple.

Rath Yatra Celebrations across India

Rath Yatra 2022 | Rath Yatra Celebrations

Rath Yatra 2023 | Rath Yatra Celebrations

One of the most anticipated times of the year in Odisha, Rath Yatra is celebrated by organizing a procession of chariots carrying the idols of Lord Jagannath, his brother and sister, who are then taken to the Gundicha Temple in Odisha. The preparation of the 14-meter-high and 11 sq. meter wide, chariots begin 2 months before the ‘Ashadha Shukla Paksha Dwitiya’. The local artists of Puri decorate these chariots with bright colours and religious graphics. These chariots are pulled by over hundreds of devotees.

Once the chariots reach the Gundicha Temple, the idols are given a holy bath and are then rested in the temple for nearly a week before bringing them back to the Jagannath Temple. Since the late 1960s, Rath Yatra began being celebrated throughout the globe in various cities on account of the ‘Hare Krishna movement’.

Nowadays, Hindus and Buddhists all over the globe celebrate this festival by organizing a chariot procession of Lord Jagannath.

Year-Wise Rath Yatra Observances

YEAR DAY DATE Event/Festival
2015 Sat 18-Jul Rath Yatra
2016 Wed 6-Jul Rath Yatra
2017 Sun 25-Jun Rath Yatra
2018 Sat 14-Jul Rath Yatra
2019 Thu 4-Jul Rath Yatra
2020 Tue 23-Jun Rath Yatra
2021 Mon 12-Jul Rath Yatra
2022 Fri 1-Jul Ratha Yatra
2023 Tues 20-Jun Ratha Yatra
2024 Sun 7-Jul Ratha Yatra
2025 Fri 27-Jun Ratha Yatra

Other Festivals in India with Holiday Type

Festivals in India Day Date Holiday Type
New Year Sunday 1 January Public
Lohri Saturday 14 January Restricted
Makar Sankranti Saturday 14 January Restricted
Pongal Sunday 15 January Restricted
Basant Panchmi Thursday 26 January Restricted
Republic Day Thursday 26 January Public
Guru Ravidass Jayanti Sunday 5 February Restricted
Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti Wednesday 15 February Restricted
Mahashivratri Saturday 18 February Restricted
Losar Tuesday 21 February Restricted
Holi Wednesday 8 March Public
Ram Navami Thursday 30 March Restricted
Mahavir Jayanti Tuesday 4 April Restricted
Good Friday Friday 7 April Public
Easter Sunday 9 April Restricted
Vaisakhi Friday 14 April Restricted
Eid Ul Fitr Saturday 22 April Public
Buddha Purnima Friday 5 May Public
Rabindra Jayanti Tuesday 9 May Restricted
Rath Yatra Tuesday 20 June Restricted
Eid Al Adha Thursday 29 June Restricted
Muharram Saturday 29 July Public
Independence Day Tuesday 15 August Public
Parsi New Year Navroz Wednesday 16 August Restricted
Onam Tuesday 29 August Restricted
Raksha Bandhan Wednesday 30 August Restricted
Janmashtami Thursday 7 September Restricted
Ganesh Chaturthi Tuesday 19 September Restricted
Id E Milad Thursday 28 September Public
Gandhi Jayanti Monday 2 October Public
Dussehra Tuesday 24 October Public
Valmiki Jayanti Saturday 28 October Restricted
Halloween Day Tuesday 31 October NA
Karva Chauth Tuesday 1 November Restricted
Diwali Sunday 12 November Public
Bhai Dooj Tuesday 14 November Restricted
Chhath Puja Sunday 19 November Restricted
Guru Nanak Jayanti Monday 27 November Public
Christmas Monday 25 December Public
Sargun Preet Kaur
Sargun has an appetite for challenges and creative hurdles that can help her grow as she conquers them one by one. With an innate desire to travel the world, she weaves through life by visiting her dream destinations. When not in her creative zone, Sargun loves to smash in badminton and binge-watch her favourite shows.
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