Interesting Car Festival Celebration in India
Car festivals in India :
A unique festival, celebrated by Hindus in India. It is interesting to see people gather for this, at one place in the name of gods and goddesses. This festival is celebrated as the wedding between god and goddess in some places. For example at Mangalore, it is celebrated as the marriage of Lord Veer Venkatesh with Goddess Lakshmi and Padmavathi ( or Sridevi and Bhudevi). Mangalore carfestival comes in the month of either January or February every year.
Rathotsava - A totally different experience :
Rathotsav(Rath yatra) or Car festival (using Temple cars) is an interesting celebration which takes place once in a year in almost all the big temples, mainly in Southern parts of India. But Orissa's Rath yatra is famous and well-known all over the world. Many people from all over the world, flock to see this event and go back to their places with beautiful images captured in their cameras as well as in their hearts. Video filming is of course a different experience, when you are in between a huge crowd.
Celebration on special occasions :
Most of the time the Rath yatra is an annual celebartion, but sometimes these holy chariots are drawn by people even on special occasions or on auspicious days. All the remaining days, this Rath will rest in a shed with the top portion totally removed or dismantled.
Cars and designs :
Puri Rath is entirely different from others. There most of the top portion is covered with specially designed clothes. But in South Indian temples, cars are decorated with colorful flags and images of gods, goddesses etc.
Music and celebration :
Drums, saxophone, harmonium, tabla, shahnayee, taal, mridang, dholki, nagaras are some of the musical instruments used here during the festival, amidst Jai Jaikar from people (a loud shout in praise of the gods). Now-a-days, the Nasik drums are becoming popular in this region, for most of the festivals.
During the car festival, car is drawn by huge crowds gathered near the car. Lengthy ropes are tied to one end of the car or holy chariot. Other end is hand held and pulled by large number of devotees who gather there.
People drawn Rath :
Bottom portion of a Rath is a strong wooden platform that has beautiful wooden carvings, 'peetha' or the seat is fixed over this platform, at the center, on which the god's idol is seated during festivals. Later, during the festival celebration, the god's idol is brought in a Palanquin and taken to the Rath by the brahmins, Poojaries or vediks ( whoever performs the regular Pooja to the god). Pooja is also performed on the Rath, once the god has been seated. Then Rath is pulled by devotees from near the temple entrance to another corner of the street. Then again back to the temple and god is taken by people in a Palanquin.