Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

The famous Rukuna Rath Yatra of Lord Lingaraj is being celebrated in Bhubaneswar today, April 16. 

As per the tradition, the popular festival of Lord Lingaraj will start from ‘Ashokastami’, today, and culminate on ‘Bahuda’ on April 20.

Significance of Rukuna Rath Yatra

The annual sojourn of Lord Lingaraj is also known as ‘Papa Binashakari Jatra’ (the sojourn which ends all sins). It also signifies its role in dispelling evil and sins. As per the popular Hindu belief, by having the darshan of chariot-ridden image of Lord Lingaraj, a devotee gets rid of all the sins.

The chariot or Rukuna Rath is also called ‘Analeuta’ as it does not take any turn during the return journey. The chariot maintains a straight course during its return journey, symbolizing continuity. Folk artistes, Odissi dancers and martial artists perform during chariot pulling. 

Preparation for Rukuna Rath Yatra

Earlier, a coordination committee meeting was held for the smooth conduct of Rukuna Rath Yatra under the chairmanship of Khordha Collector. Elaborate discussion was held in the meeting regarding the smooth conduct of the festival this year.

Various responsibilities have been entrusted to the government officials for the smooth conduct of the popular festival in a disciplined manner. Officials of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), Fire Services Personnel and Commissionerate Police participated in the meeting.

Holy Marichi Kunda water auctioned

On the eve of Rukuna Rath Yatra, pitchers containing water from Holy Marichi Kunda, a water tank on the premises of Mukteswar temple, were auctioned to childless couples late Monday night.

“As per popular belief, the holy water helps barren women conceive, if bathed and drank on the eve of Ashokashtami,” said Badu Nijoga servitor Suryakumar Batu.

The highest bidder for the first pitcher of water was Manmohan Barik and his wife Sonali from Krushnadaspur area in Jagatsinghpur district with Rs 24,000.

“As per my mother-in-law’s advice, I came here to take part in the auction process of Marichi Kunda water. I am sure that with Lord Lingaraj’s grace, my wish will be fulfilled,” said Sonali.

As per the tradition, ‘Pratistha’ rituals of Rukuna Rath will be conducted with the water of Marichi Kunda today. Later, the chariot will be pulled by the devotees after carrying Lord Lingaraj’s image atop the chariot by the servitors.

Schedule of various rituals and chariot pulling

The trust board of Lord Lingaraj has already released the final schedule for the annual Rukuna Rath Yatra. As per the schedule, considering the huge rush of devotees, ‘Mangala Alati’ was performed at 5 am today. Following the development, ‘Abakasha’ and ‘Sahanamela’ rituals of Lord Lingaraj were performed.

Subsequently, ‘Pahandi’ and ‘Ratharudha’ rituals of Lord Lingaraj will start at 12.30 pm. The chariot pulling will commence at 3.30 pm on Tuesday.