Ratha Jatra, also called as Chariot Festival, is a Hindu festival associated with Lord Jagannath held at Puri, Odisha.
The festival is celebrated on the 2nd day of Shukla Paksha of Ashadh, the third month, according to the traditional Oriya calendar.
It is a 9 day-long event and marks the return of Lord Krishna to Vrindavan with his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra to Gundicha Temple via Mausi Maa Temple (maternal aunt's home) near Saradha Bali, Puri.
During the festival, the three holy chariots carrying idols of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balaram (Balabhadra) and sister Subhadra are pulled by thousands of devotees from India and abroad.
The temple is believed to be constructed in the 12th century by King Anatavarman Chodaganga Deva of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty.
Jagannath Puri temple is called ‘Yamanika Tirtha’ where, according to the Hindu beliefs, the power of ‘Yama’, the god of death has been nullified in Puri due to the presence of Lord Jagannath.
This temple was called the “White Pagoda” and is a part of Char Dham pilgrimages (Badrinath, Dwaraka, Puri, Rameswaram).
There are four gates to the temple- Eastern ‘Singhdwara’ which is the main gate with two crouching lions, Southern ‘Ashwadwara’, Western 'Vyaghra Dwara and Northern ‘Hastidwara’. There is a carving of each form at each gate.
In front of the entrance stands the Aruna stambha or sun pillar, which was originally at the Sun Temple in Konark.
The Indo-Aryan style prefers a tower with rounded top and curvilinear outline while the tower of the Southern or Dravidian style is usually in a shape of a rectangular truncated Pyramid.