Incredible Jagannath Puri Story – Untold Stories Of Rath Yatra

Incredible Jagannath Puri Story - Untold Stories Of Rath Yatra

Read about the incredible Jagannath Puri story and amazing facts and legends of the world-famous Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra in Puri, India.

Incredible Jagannath Puri Story - Untold Stories Of Rath Yatra

India is a land of intriguing mysteries, and many of these are associated with its ancient temples, rituals, and customs. One of these is the incredible Jagannath Puri story and the untold stories of Rath Yatra. The Puri Jagannath temple is cloaked in a sheen of fascinating mysteries and myths.

There are many interesting stories of Rath Yatra too that constitute many a myth and legend associated with the temple. Here are some interesting facts about Rath Yatra, Jagannath Puri history, and much more.

Incredible Jagannath Puri Story | Intriguing Stories Of Rath Yatra

The Jagannath Puri temple is an Odisha temple located in Puri, which is about 69 kilometers from Bhubaneshwar, the capital of Odisha. The temple is a very ancient and sacred place of pilgrimage for Hindus. It is best known for its world-famous Rath Yatra which is the largest festival of its kind in the world. Rath Yatra is not something specific to The Jagannath Puri Temple.

It is a feature of many temples across India. In the state of Odisha itself, Rath Yatra’s are held in Konark in honor of the Sun God and in Bhubaneshwar at the Lingraj temple in honor of Lord Lingraj.

Jagannath Puri Story | About Puri Jagannath Temple

Jagannath Puri Story - Puri Jagannath Temple

The Puri Jagannath temple is a very ancient and sacred temple of India. The importance of Puri in Hinduism goes back to the times of the Puranas. It was in Puri that the great Indian poet, saint, and philosopher, Adi Shankaracharya established one of his Amnaya Mathas.

The Puri Jagannath temple is one of the Char Dhams or holy abodes that are held sacred by the Hindus. These four sacred places were declared holy by Adi Shankaracharya. It is believed that every Hindu should visit these four holy sites at least once in their lifetime. Visiting these places is believed to lead to salvation or Moksha. Apart from Puri, the other three places are Badrinath, Rameswaram, and Dwarka.

The Jagannath Puri temple is historically believed to date back to sometime between 1078 to 1148 CE, but the current structure is believed to have been built by the Oriya king Ananga Bhima Deva, in the year 1174 CE.

However, there are references to the Jagannath Puri temple in the various Puranas, including the Skanda Purana and the Brahma Puranas. Legend has it that the original Jagannath temple in Puri was constructed by King Indrayumna, who was the son of Bharata, an ancestor of the Pandavas from the Mahabharata.

It is believed that king Indrayumna had the idols of Jagannath, Balarama, and Subhadra, made from the wood of a Daru (Neem) tree, which floated to the seashore. He had a magnificent temple built for the idols and Lord Brahma, himself consecrated the idols. To this day the idols are made from the wood of the Neem tree every year.

The main deities worshipped at the Jagannath Puri temple are Jagannath who is a form of Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Subhadra, Balarama, and the Sudarshan Chakra. There are some 120 smaller temples within the massive complex of the Jagannath Puri temple that sprawls over an area of 37,000 square meters.

Jagannath Puri Story | Rath Yatra History

Jagannath Puri Story | Rath Yatra History

The Rath Yatra of Puri dates back to ancient times and its mention is found in many ancient Indian texts. The Rath Yatra along with other accounts about the Puri Jagannath temple are documented in the records of the temple called, Madala Panji. This documents the history and Jagannath Puri Temple Facts dating back to the 12th century.

The Skanda Purana mentions that the Shree Gundicha Yatra is the most important of festivals of the Lord.

In the 14th century accounts of a spectacular chariot festival, where thousands pulled a chariot that contained the image of a Hindu deity reached Europe. This was, of course, the Rath Yatra of Jagannath Puri. The western world was so impressed with this massive festival, that slowly a new word entered the English language. The word was Juggernaut, a word derived from Jagannath!

Jagannath Puri Story | Untold Stories Of Rath Yatra

The Rath Yatra is one of the most spectacular as well as ancient events in the world. It is an annual event watched by millions. It is a grand testimony to the faith and devotion of millions to the temple and its deity. The Puri Jagannath temple and the Rath Yatra are eternal and an integral part of the cultural and religious ethos of India.

Just like the Somnath temple and many other temples in India, the Jagannath Puri temple stands as a defiant structure that defines the resilience of India and its culture.

We look at some of the untold stories of Rath Yatra and many amazing facts about the Rath Yatra and its origins. It is difficult to separate fact from myth and legend, but nonetheless, they all add to the aura of mystery and intrigue that is associated with the Jagannath Puri temple story and the Rath Yatra.

Jagannath Puri Story – Legends About The Origin of The Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra

Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra

  1. One of the legends related to the origin of Rath Yatra dates back to the Dwapara Yuga. It is related to an epoch-making incident in the life of Krishna. Kamsa, the maternal uncle of Krishna, invites the young Krishna and his brother Balarama to Mathura, with the evil intention of getting them killed.He sends a chariot or Ratha with Akrura as the charioteer to bring the duo to Mathura. Krishna and Balarama ascend the chariot and leave their beloved Gokul for Mathura. Legend has it that this departure of Krishna for Mathura is commemorated as the annual Rath yatra.
  2. According to another legend, After Krishna defeated Kamsa and killed him, thus fulfilling a divine prophecy, he and Balram ascended a chariot and went around Mathura, cheered enthusiastically by the people of Mathura. This event is celebrated in the form of the annual Rath yatra.
  3. Still another legend says that once when Lord Krishna ruled over the beautiful city of Dwarka, he took Subhadra and Balarama in a chariot to show them the splendors of the city of Dwarka. The annual Rath Yatra is believed to enact this same incident.
  4. Once the queens of Lord Krishna requested Rohini, the mother of Balarama, to tell them about the exploits of Krishna in Gokul. She sent Subhadra to the palace door to ensure that no one entered, while she regaled the queens with stories of Krishna Leela. Subhadra stood guard at the door.
    Soon Krishna and Balarama arrived. Subhadra, stretched out both her hands to stop them from entering.At that very moment the divine sage, Narada arrived. He was overwhelmed by the beautiful sight of the three divine siblings standing together. He requested them to forever reside on earth and give Darshan eternally to the people of the earth. Since then the three reside eternally in Jagannath Puri, and the annual Rath Yatra is a celebration of this incident.

Jagannath Puri Story – Other Incredible Facts About Rath Yatra

Jagannath Puri Story - Other Incredible Facts About Rath Yatra


Here are some other amazing facts about the Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra, that add to the mystique of the Jagannath Puri story.

  1. The Rath Yatra of Puri is a ceremonial procession of three chariots or Rathas that carry the idols of Lord Jagannath, Balarama, and Subhadra, it is also referred to as Shree Gundicha Yatra
  2. The three chariots that are used in the Rath Yatra are made from the wood of specially selected trees, the logs are set afloat in the river Mahanadi, and then collected near Puri, to be fashioned into massive chariots
  3. The chariots are dismantled after the Rath Yatra and the wood is used as firewood in the temple kitchens
  4. The chariot that carries Lord Jagannath is called Nandighosha or Garudadhwaja, the chariot that carries Balabhadra (Balarama) is called Taladhwaja or Langaladhwaja, and the chariot that carries Subhadra is called Darpadalana or Padmadhwaja
  5. The chariot carrying Lord Jagannath is the most massive of the three chariots and has 16 wheels, it is about 44 feet in height and measures 34.6 feet in length and breadth
  6. The chariot that carries Balabhadra is about 43 feet in height and has 14 wheels, it measures 33 feet in length and breadth
  7. The chariot carrying Subhadra has 12 wheels and is about 42 feet high and measures about 32 feet in length and breadth
  8. Along with the three primary deities, other deities too are part of the Rath Yatra, the accompanying deity for Lord Jagannath is Madanmohan, for Balabhadra it is Ramakrishna, and for Subhadra, it is Sudarshana, the divine Chakra of Lord Vishnu and Krishna
  9. One of the important rituals associated with the Rath Yatra is the Chhera Panhara, which is mopping of the chariot with a golden broom, this is done by a descendant of the royal Gajapati dynasty
  10. The Puri Rath Yatra or Shree Gundicha Yatra is considered one of the largest religious festivals in the world and lasts for 12 days


What is Ratha Yatra?

Ratha Yatra which is known as Ratha Jatra in the Odiya language is the chariot festival held in Puri in Odisha. Lord Jagannath, Subhadra, and Balarama are taken in a procession.

Which state is famous for Rath Yatra?

Ratha Yatra is a car festival that is held every year in Puri, Odisha, India.

Which God is in rath yatra?

Ratha Yatra is a car festival wherein the three deities – Lord Jagannath, Lord Balbhadra, and Goddess Subhadra are taken in a procession.

Why is rath yatra called Gundicha Yatra?

King Indradyumna built the Jagannath temple in Puri, Odisha, India. Gundicha was the queen of King Indradyumna. Queen Gundicha’s residence later became Gundicha Temple. The Rath Yatra procession goes to Gundicha temple.

Why does Lord Jagannath go to Gundicha temple?

There are many legends about Lord Jagannath going to the Gundicha temple. One of the legends has it that all the three siblings go to Gundicha temple to meet the queen Gundicha and stay for 9 days during the chariot festival.

What happens to the chariot after Rath Yatra?

After the annual chariot festival, the wood of the chariots is dismantled and used in the Jagannath Temple Kitchen for the preparation of Bhog ( Temple food for the deities ).

Why does the king of Orissa sweep the chariot?

It is a social message that all are one.

How To Get To Puri In Odisha, India

Facts About Rath Yatra

Bhubaneswar To Puri Direction – Bhubaneswar To Puri Route Map

  • Puri is located in the state of Odisha, near the eastern coast of India
  • Bhubaneshwar to Puri distance is about 68 kilometers
  • Bhubaneswar To Puri Jagannath Temple Distance is about 67.9 kilometers

Getting To Puri By Air

  • The nearest airport to Puri is the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneshwar at a distance of about 58 kilometers
  • One can fly to Bhubaneshwar and then travel to Puri by road, hiring a cab or using public transport
  • Biju Patnaik International Airport is well connected to other parts of India, there are flights to and from cities like Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Hyderabad, among others

Getting To Puri By Rail

  • Puri has a terminal Railway Station which is part of the East Coast Railway Zone, on the Kharagpur-Puri line
  • Puri is connected by rail to major cities of India including Howrah, Bangalore, Indore, Ahmedabad, New Delhi, etc.
  • For details of trains to and from Puri check out the official IRCTC website

Getting To Puri By Road

  • Puri is well connected by road to Bhubaneshwar, the capital of Odisha, and to all major towns and cities of India
  • Getting from Bhubaneswar to Puri by bus or cab is a good option

If you are thinking of visiting Puri to experience firsthand the incredible Jagannath Puri story, you can book a cheap flight right here through the links below:

TripAdvisor or Agoda or CheapAir or Cleartrip or Makemytrip or Priceline. You can also travel by road to Puri by self-drive car or cab or bus.

Where To Stay In Puri

There are many options for accommodation in Puri which include resorts and budget accommodation. One can also choose to stay in Bhubaneshwar, which has more options.

You can book any Jagannath Puri hotel or hotel in Bhubaneshwar or anywhere in India, right here. through TripAdvisor or Cleartrip or Agoda or Makemytrip or Priceline and save a lot by getting the best savings on booking your stay.

Click here to book the best hotels in Puri and the best hotels in Bhubaneshwar

Places to Visit Near Puri

There is much to explore in Odisha ranging from ancient temples to heritage sites and natural wonders.

You can plan your Odisha itinerary and book your  Odisha trips, right here.  So go ahead and book online places to see in Odisha and popular activities in Odisha and cover attractions in Odisha.

Click here to know more and book Odisha Best Attractions in Puri and Bhubaneshwar

We hope you liked reading about the incredible Jagannath Puri story and the amazing facts and legends of the Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra. Do let us know your thoughts through our comments section.


Incredible Jagannath Puri Story - Untold Stories Of Rath Yatra

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27 thoughts on “Incredible Jagannath Puri Story – Untold Stories Of Rath Yatra”

  1. these are some truly amazing facts about the legendary Jagannath puri temple. Wasnt aware of any of these. I am specially amazed to know about the 3 chariots

  2. Bedabrata Chakraborty

    There are so many legends about Lord Jagannath, his origin, his daily schedule. But I marvel at the abstract beauty of the idols. So totemic, yet so endearing. Jai Jagannath as they say!

  3. Beautiful way you explaiend about Puri with tons of information. I would like to debate on some points whenever we will meet, as I read some uncanny truth too.. But I liked the mythological pointers you mentioned here.. Nice one

  4. Puri is quite close to my inlaws town and we often plan on visiting this place. Till date haven’t been able to. And I love the time of year when Rath yatra happens. It also is celebrated in our home town. Jaganath Puri is a beautiful and sacred place to go. Loved the blog post with all details and stories around Rath Yatra.

  5. FAQs at the end was a wonderful read as it gave answers and came to know so many facts & things about this temple.

    Also how to reach the place direction will help out travellers & devotees.

  6. Have seen the Rath Yatra so many times on the news, but dint know about so many facts u have mentioned here. Loved reading it.

  7. Recently, my mom was watching vignaharta ganesh on Sony and I just came home from work and this particular episode of jagganath puri was on. So I know the background story but again. I had no idea about other things. Like where to stay and all. Thank you for sharing complete guide.

  8. This is an architectural marvel in design and crafting. Carving in the wall are extraordinary work of masterpiece.. Architecture inside is mesmerizing. Great thoughts.

  9. I have been to Orissa only once and I have not been to Puri. But I did have it on my list and would have visited it by now if I was in India. The Jagannath Puri is surely one of the most important places to visit in India and I will get there eventually. And it is good to know about Rath Yatra and the stories behind it.

  10. I have been to Puri when I was a kid with my family and been to this temple too. It’s a very beautiful temple.

  11. Monidipa Dutta

    It took me 15 minutes to read and digest every point and FAQ. Wow. I was not at all aware about any one of them.

  12. The Other Brain Inc.

    This is such an informative post about Jagannath temple Puri. I never knew that the rath yatra is called Gundicha Yatra similarly there were many pointers that I didn’t knew before reading your post.

  13. Puri is my hometown . I am glad that you have written about Jagannath dham .. The place is so beautiful and peaceful.

  14. Never visited Puri! Won’t lie but didn’t know most of the facts abt this place.
    Would love to visit this place once for sure!

  15. This sounds nostalgic. I’ve never been Puri Jagannath temple. And the rath Yatra seems like a once in life time experience

  16. I’ve till now only heard and seen on TV about this Raath Yatra about today I got to know so much more and behind the door stories about it. This was a very interesting read.

  17. Recently I was seeing a Television series about this and was further thrilled to know the story of its establishment after reading about it in detail. Great post.

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