Ratha Yatra

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The Ratha Yatra (Chariot Festival) of Sri Sri Madan Mohan (Lord Krishna) in Cooch Behar takes place in June and July. It is quite similar to the Rath-Yatra of Sri Sri Jagannath Dev at Puri (in Orissa). Sri Sri Madan Mohan rides in elegant Raths (big chariots) starting from the main temple to his maternal aunt’s house at Gunjabari which is within the city bounds, and stays there for one week. Again on the day of return, which is commonly known as Ulta-Rath, celebrations of the idol of Sri Sri Madan Mohan is exercised back to the main Madan Mohan temple. This whole tour of the holy idol takes place for seven days, and a great fair takes place at the main temple campus at Gunjabari.

The holy shrine of Sri Sri Madan Mohan was established in 1893, after the Madan Mohan temple-house was made in city of Cooch Behar. Since then, Ratha-yatra took place besides Bairagi Dighi till 1922. At present this fair is also celebrated with ceremoniousness and eminence at Gunjabari for seven days.

During the reign of the ‘Koch’ Maharajas the temple of Sri Sri Madan Mohan was established in every sub-divisional town and city, and Ratha-yatra is celebrated in all those towns/cities at present.

During the monarchy of the state, there used to be a royal treatment to the procession. Royally decorated elephants used to lead the procession followed by royal army, police teams and bands, etc. Now, with the days of monarchy lost long back, the idol of Sri Sri Madan Mohan rides the chariot pulled by thousands of devotees. The requirements of the visitors of this fair have changed with due course of time but you will get to see local handicrafts being sold in the fair, which have been a part of this fair since the very beginning.