Ratha Yatra Festival – the festivals of chariots

You know as a kid I used to love Ratha yatra. Back in Calcutta, sorry Kolkata we would each have our own special ‘raths’ or special multistoreyed chariots. We would occasionally get a new one but it would usually last for a few years. But every year, the day of Ratha we would decorate our chariots in colorful splendor. The basic rath which you would get from the market was a skeletal structure on wheels – two or three feet high – with two or three stories made out of stick columns and wooden floors. The top would be shaped like a temple. And then it was up to us and our adult assistants to decorate them. Colored paper, glitter paper, shiny paper to cover the side, and then decorations to cut out and stick and leaves to adorn. The chariots usually would have a colorful flag on top. Do they still do it in Calcutta? I havent been there so long, that I dont know. Anyway once the decoration was over, the kids would hit the streets, rath in tow with the statues of the three deities Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra carefully enthroned inside. We would check out the other raths and generally have a fun time pulling our raths around all evening.

I had not even thought of Ratha yatra for years. My husband hasnt even heard of it in Delhi where I grew up and spend most of my adolescence, and its not celebrated much there. Or maybe not even in other parts of India.

But suddenly this week an old friend came calling and mentioned there was one right here in Atlanta. A celebration of ratha yatra. I may check it out. If I do I will post pics (haha as if that ever happens)


But just to know about the history of the festival, check out wikipedia.

Also, did you guys know that the Ratha yatra festival and the journey of Jaganath forms the origin of the word juggernaut?


Last 5 posts by Khushi


  1. Jane Stevens

    I had never thought that juggernaut comes from a festival, but I did look up the dictionary and you are right. It does talk of a lot of people being killed under the chariot. Is that true?

  2. uma

    hare ram hare krishna soc. has made rath yatra festval popular in other parts of india also. they take out a rath in delhi as far as i remember.

  3. Anonymous

    I remember seeing it on Doordarshan about Orissa never knew about cal

  4. Smitha

    Cool..Ratha yathra here in Atlanta..!! I have never been to one..Would be nice to see one..

  5. Ojas, VP Oriya Names

    Hello. Are any festivals planned for New Years?
    Hare Krishna,

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