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National Bytes: How SC refuses permission for Rath Yatra?

SC refuses permission for Rath Yatra

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SC refuses permission for Rath Yatra
SC refuses permission for Rath Yatra

In News: SC refuses permission for Rath Yatra

  • The Supreme Court refused permission to hold the annual Rath Yatra for Lord Jagannath in Puri, Odisha.
  • This is first time in almost 300 years that there will be no Rath Yatra in Puri because of danger to health and safety on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Constitutional Provisions invoked by the Supreme Court:

  • Article 25 of the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion to all persons in India.
  • Article 25 (1) provides that all persons in India, subject to public order, morality, health, and other provisions are equally entitled to freedom of conscience, and have the right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion.
  • Thus, Article 25 (1) of the Constitution clearly says that the right to freely profess and propagate religion will be subject to health.

About: Rath Yatra

  • The Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra or the Chariot festival is celebrated at the temple of God Jagannath.
  • It is considered as one of India’s biggest chariot festivals.
  • Jagannath means “lord of the world” and is the form of Hindu god Vishnu (Krishna or Rama). The lord is worshipped in Odisha, which is also home to famous and sacred Jagannath Temple.
  • The Ratha Yatra normally draws a crowd of 10-13 lakh people and continues for a period of 10-15 days.
  • The Rath Yatra is normally celebrated in Odisha, Jharkhand and eastern India.

Why is it Celebrated?

  • It is celebrated to commemorate Jagannath’s visit to Gundicha Temple through Mausi Maa Temple in Puri.
  • That’s why the Yatra is sometimes also called as Gundicha Yatra.
  • Local fable- As per the local fable, when the summer is at its height, the deity and his siblings step out to bathe in public as they are unable to bear the heat inside the temple. This is called Snana Purnima. Then Krishna and his siblings take ill after they bathe with 108 pots of water under the blazing sun. Thus they are kept in a recovery chamber called anasar ghar. Upon recovery, their appetite returns and they wish to eat the food cooked by their aunt Gundicha, whose house is a little away from his temple. Lord Jagannath makes his way there on his grand chariot.
  • The ritual takes place when the extra month (adhik maas) is meant to align the Hindu lunar calendar to the solar cycle, which appears in the summer which makes two months of Ashadha (June-July), not just the one.

Chariots of the Deities:

  • The chariots of the deities are gigantic and newly built every year. The gigantic chariots inspired the British to coin the word “juggernaut”.
  • Jagannath’s chariot is called Nandighosa, the chariot of Balabhadra is called Taladhwaja and that of Subhadra is called Dwarpadalana.
  • The total number of wheels on Lord Jagannath’s chariot are 16, Lord Balabhadra’s chariot are 14 and Subhadra’s chariot are 12.

About: Lord Jagannath Temple

  • The temple is in the town of Puri.
  • The present temple was rebuilt from the 11th or 12th century onwards, on the site of an earlier temple.
  • The rebuilt was begun by King Anantavarman Chodaganga. He was the first king of the Eastern Ganga dynasty.
  • The unique feature of the temple is that Krishna is worshipped not with a spouse, but with his siblings.
  • Many great saints, such as Ramananda and Ramanuja, were closely associated with the temple.
  • Ramanuja established the Emar Mutt near the temple and the Govardhan Mutt, which is the seat of one of the four Shankaracharyas.
  • It is also of particular significance to the followers of the Gaudiya Vaishnavism whose founder Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, was attracted to the deity Jagannath and lived in Puri for many years.

Temple Architecture:

  • With its sculptural richness and fluidity of the Oriya style of temple architecture, it is one of the most magnificent monuments of India.
  • It contains at least 120 temples and shrines.
  • The temple has four distinct sectional structures-
    1. Garba griha (Sanctum sanctorum) where the triad deities are lodged on the ratnavedi (Throne of Pearls) in Rekha Deula style
    2. Mukhashala (Frontal porch)
    3. Nata mandir/Natamandapa, which is also known as the Jagamohan (Audience Hall/Dancing Hall)
    4. Bhoga Mandapa (Offerings Hall)
  • The main temple is a curvilinear temple and crowning the top is the ‘srichakra’ (an eight spoked wheel) of Vishnu. It is also known as the “Nilachakra”. It is made out of Ashtadhatu and is considered sacrosanct.
  • Among the existing temples in Orissa, the temple of Shri Jagannath is the highest. The temple tower was built on a raised platform of stone and, rising to 214 feet (65 m) above the inner sanctum where the deities reside, dominates the surrounding landscape.
  • The pyramidal roofs of the surrounding temples and adjoining halls, or mandapas, rise in steps toward the tower like a ridge of mountain peaks.
  • The huge temple complex is surrounded by a high fortified wall known as Meghanada Pacheri. Another wall known as Kurma Bedha surrounds the main temple.

About: Puri

  • Puri is located in eastern India in Odisha along the coast of Bay of Bengal. .
  • It lies on the golden triangle of Odisha, connecting with Konark and Bhubaneswar.
  • It is among the most sacred pilgrim centres for Hindus in India, especially in those of Vaishanava traditions and is one of the Char Dhams. Other sites being Rameshwaram, Dwarka and Badrinath
  • As it is a seat of Lord Jagannath, this city is also known as Jagannath Puri.
  • The coastal city gained fame after Chodaganga Deva who built the temple of Purusottama Jagannath after winning a war. Over the years, association with Lord Rama, influenced renaming of city to Purusottama Kshetra, also known as Purusottama Puri, which exists as Puri at present.
  • The city is also a repository of art and architecture of India with testaments dating back to 3rd century B.C.
  • It is an ancient town with ruins and testaments belonging to the period from 3rd century B.C. to 17th century A.D.
  • Puri is also well-known for its annual Puri Beach Festival held in the month of November.
  • Over the years, the coastal city has emerged as an industrial centre with major industries like rice milling, handicrafts and fish curing.
  • A few well-known attractions in and around Puri are:
    1. Chilka Lake and the Childlike Wildlife Sanctuary
    2. Puri Beach
    3. Gundicha Ghar

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