Rathotsava and rati

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BY Swami Harshananda

Rathotsava literally means ‘festival of the temple chariot’.

The biggest festival organised in any temple is called ‘brahmotsava’. It is generally spread over number of days. The rathotsava is also an important part of this festival. It is usually held two days before the conclusion of all the ceremonies.

The ratha[1] is a replica of the temple. It is richly decorated along with the utsavamurti[2] and taken around the important streets of the town. It is halted at certain specified places so that the common people can offer their worship almost at their door-step. The ratha is drawn by the devotees, no distinction being made of caste or creed. Of course, there are a number of religious rites connected with the rathotsava, which should be observed scrupulously.


References

  1. Ratha means temple-car or chariot.
  2. Utsavamurti is the processional image.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore