Orissa is undoubtedly a beautiful place with its numerous wildlife reserves, lakes, and waterfalls. However, there is something here which is unique to this part of the country and that is the Car Festival or the RathYatra. This festival, which like most other festivals is celebrated once a year, symbolizes the traditions, history, and culture of Orissa and serves to bind the people of Orissa into a huge family. The Lord Jagannath is worshipped in this festival by thousands of devotees who come in his presence to take his blessings. This festival started out in Puri and is now celebrated in a number of places both in India and outside including Bangladesh, West Bengal, Ahmedabad, and Manipur. The Car Festival is widely covered by Oriya news and brings to each home the richness and diversity of celebrations all over the world. Orissa news about the DhamraiRathYatra in Bangladesh In Bangladesh, the festivities have a different aura as it brings together believers of the Lord in a country which is predominated by Muslims. Its history dates back to 1672 when a huge statue of the Lord was carried around in a massive chariot which was pulled by His devotees with the help of a thick rope. However, the chariot that is used now is not the one that was used since its inception as the chariot was burnt down by the Pakistani Army. A new chariot constructed after this incident is being used today for the festival. Very much like the DurgaPooja celebrated over a period of ten days in September by the Bengalis, the Car Festival in Bangladesh is also celebrated
for almost a month. In addition, it also involves stalls, puppet shows, and circuses as part of the celebrations. Oriya news about the celebrations in West Bengal The celebrations in West Bengal are no less in fervor and enthusiasm than the celebrations in Orissaand the chariot used in Bengal is the second oldest after the chariot used in Puri, Orissa. The festival is being celebrated from the past 700 years for almost a week every year. According to the Orissa news, although the celebrations here have acquired a Bengali flavor over the years, the feelings and the devotion is the same in all places where it is celebrated. News about the Ahmedabad RathYatra In Ahmedabad, the devotion of Lord Jagannath is apparent from the presence of one of the oldest temples of the Lord in Jamalpur. Although the festival here is being celebrated since only the last 100 years, it is quite popular and attracts a lot of devotees each year to the temple of the Lord. Not only does it attract Hindus, but the occasion has also been graced by a number of non-Hindus who appreciate and take part in the celebrations with as much enthusiasm. A very important highlight of this event in Ahmedabad is the procession of decorated elephants which walk along with the chariot. Although the festival is celebrated for only a day here, it provides good competition to Orissa and West Bengal in terms of its splendor. Malini Karmakar is a social worker and writer who actively works for the survival of our ancient traditions and culture. She has covered a number of Orissa news items regarding its history, festivals, habits, language, clothes, and other aspects relating to the lifestyle of the people.