Chandan Yatra takes place in the month of Vaisaksha for 6 weeks.. This is the longest festival celebrated in odisha also known as Gandhalepana yatra. The festival is celebrated during peak of summer. So To keep the Deities cool during the time, devotees apply sandalwood paste (chandana) over Radha Madhava and other Deities. 'Chandana Yatra' is very attractive and a vast crowd of devotees attend this ritual. Thousand of pilgrimages gather to take part in the celebration of this great festival of Orrisa. All devotees including children and pilgrims are offered a chance to grind chandana for the pleasure of the Deities. The 42 day long festival is observered in two parts: Bahara Chandana and Bhitara Chandana.
The celebration starts from Akshaya Tritiya and continues for 21 days. Construction of the chariots for the annual Rath Yatra festival starts from the same day. The representative idols of the main deities of the Jagannath temple as well as five Shivalingas known as the Pancha Pandava are taken in a procession from the Singhadwara (the Lion Gate) of the Jagannath temple at Puri to the Narendra Pokhari (pond). On the way the deities are worshiped by different Mutts and offered 'Bhoga'. These offerings are called 'Panti Bhoga'. The yatra continues for 21 days.After various rituals, the deities Madanmohan, Bhudevi, Sridevi and Ramakrishna are taken on two chapas (boats), named Nanda and Bhadra, on an excursion around the Narendra Tritha. The boats are beautifully decorated generally in red and white colour to give the resemblance of a swan floating in the water. Every day, two rounds of boat moving called 'Dina Chapa'(during daytime) and 'Rati Chapa'(during night) take place. During first week, both large and small Radha Madhava Deities are covered with chandana. During second and third week, small Radha Madhava Deities are entirely covered with chandana.
Bhitara chandana continues for next 21 days inside the premise of the temple. The festive celebration showcase playful ride on four occasions namely Amavasya, full moon night, Shashti and Ekadashi.
Cuisine: Maha Prasad
Time of Celebration: 26th April
Location: Puri Jagganath Temple, Narendra Pokhari (pond)
Travel Itineraries: Train/ bus/ cab from bhubaneswar