These are customarily brought from the ex-princely state of Dasapalla by a specialist team of carpenters who have hereditary rights and privileges for the same. The logs of chariots of Lord Jagannath, Balarama and Shubhadra are traditionally set afloat as rafts in the river Mahanadi. These are collected near Puri, Odisha and then transported by road.
The three chariots are decorated as per the exclusive scheme prescribed and followed for centuries stand on the Bada Danda, the Grand Avenue. These three chariots are Taladhwaja, Nandighosha, Devadalana. Taladhwaja is belonging to Shree Balabhadra, which about 45 Feet, consisting of 9 idols, the door guard deities 2 idols and four black wheels. While Nandighosha is for Lord Jagannatha and Devadalana is for Shubhadra.
The chariot is covered with bright canopies made of stripes of red cloth and combined with those of black, yellow and blue colours, the huge chariots are lined across the wide avenue in front of the majestic temple close to its eastern entrance, which is also known as the Sinhadwara or the Lion's Gate.
The chariot of Lord Jagannatha is called Nandighosa. Nandighosa is forty-five feet high and forty-five feet square at the wheel level. It has sixteen wheels, each of seven-foot diameters, and is decked with a cover made of red and yellow cloth. Lord Jagannatha is identified with Lord Krishna, who is also known as Pitambara, the one attired in golden yellow robes and hence the distinguishing yellow stripes on the canopy of this chariot.
The chariot of Lord Balarama, called the Taladhwaja, is the one with the palm tree on its flag. It has fourteen wheels, each of seven-foot diameters and is covered with red and blue cloth. Its height is forty-four feet.
The chariot of Subhadra, known as Dwarpadalana, literally "trampler of pride", is forty-three feet high with twelve wheels, each of seven-foot diameter. This chariot is decked with a covering of red and black cloth - black being traditionally associated with Shakti and the Mother Goddess.
Nine Parsva Devatas
Around each of the chariots are nine Parsva devatas, painted wooden images representing different deities on the chariots' sides. Each of the chariots is attached to four horses. These are of different colours - white ones for Balarama, dark ones for Jagannatha, and red ones for Subhadra. Each chariot has a charioteer called Sarathi. The three charioteers attached to the chariots of Jagannatha, Balarama and Subhadra respectively are Daruka, Matali and Arjuna.
|More Articles in Ratha Yatra (13)|