Ratha Yatra or Ratha Jatra or Chariot Festival is a festival that involves moving deities Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshana on a chariot (called a ratha or rotho).The festival originated in Puri, Odisha. The English word juggernaut was originated from Jagannath that is related to the massive and unstoppable “ratha” carrying Jaggannath. Accidents involving people being crushed under the wheels of the chariot have also occurred a few times.

Every 19 years, the 3 deities are recast using wood from a neem tree & this ritual is called Nava Kalebar.

“Ratha” in Odia means chariot and “jatra”  means journey. The festival thus refers to the annual journey of the divinity in the form of idols to the “Mausima Deula” (aunt’s place).