India is a country of diverse religions and cultural backgrounds. A true manifestation of its rich culture and traditions are its ‘festivals’. One such festival that’s been celebrated exactly the same way as was celebrated for hundreds of hundreds of years is the Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra.
Once every year, the temple town of Puri in Orissa comes alive with one of the world’s largest human gatherings for the grand Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra or the Great Chariot Festival. Discovery Channel’s Spirit of India- Rathyatra will be presented by UK born Indian actor Danny Sura. Spirit of India – Rath Yatra took viewers on a pilgrimage to the temple city Puri, which is considered one of the four abodes (Char Dham) that every Hindu must visit in their lifetime. The program showcased the grand procession of pulling three gigantic chariots, the interaction with the community whose livelihood is dependent on designing these chariots and many other famous mythological tales behind its festivities.
Host Danny Sura brought out interesting trivia about the Rath Yatra festival including making of the 45 feet long and 16-weeled chariot of Lord Jagannath’s called Nandighosha; Lord Balabhadra riding atop a 45 foot high, 14-wheeled Taladhwaja; and Lord’s sister Dadi Supadra riding the 44 foot high, 12-wheeled Devadalana. Highlighting the superb craftsmanship of the artisans of Orissa, Danny introduced viewers to the community of chariot makers who have been handed over the tradition generation after generation and marking special days to commence its construction i.e. woodcutting beginning in April on Rama Navami and the chariot construction starting from Akshaya Tritiya in May.
The colorful and mesmerizing festivities of Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra was captured really well on Discovery Channel’s hour long program.
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