Photo Album: Rath Yatra

Rath means chariot. Almost all Hindu deities were believed to have travelled on chariots pulled by divine horses. Chariot festivals are common in Hindu as well as Buddhist cultures. The chariot festival in Kandy, Sri Lanka is a major Buddhist festival. However, the single most popular Rath Yatra festival in India is the one in Puri. It centres around the temple of Lord Jagannath, an incarnation of Vishnu. Similar Rath Yatras are also seen all over Bengal in varying degrees of popularity. The chariots draw huge crowds of pilgrims and onlookers and there’s a general frenzy among the crowd to touch the rope used to pull the chariot. It is believed the deity showers the the one who touches the rope, with his blessings. These photos were captured by photographer Abir Choudhury in the streets of Kolkata.

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