The stone chariot inside the Vittala Temple complex at Hampi in Karnataka, India
The Jewel of Hampi. Ratha Yatra
Today is one of India's biggest religious festivals, the Jagannath Puri Ratha Yatra. The festival is unique in that three Hindu gods are taken out of their temples in a colourful procession to meet their devotees. The biggest of these processions takes place in Puri in the eastern state of Orissa, while the other takes place in the western state of Gujarat.
Believed to be the oldest Ratha Yatra or chariot procession in the world, this festival marks the annual ceremonial procession of Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Balabhadra and younger sister Subhadra, from their home temple to another temple, located in what is believed to be their aunt's home. This is the only festival in the world where deities are taken out of temples to travel to devotees, and it is also the largest chariot procession in the world.
To celebrate the occasion, we are showing you the iconic stone chariot inside the Vittala Temple complex at Hampi in Karnataka. The chariot is actually a shrine dedicated to Garuda, Lord Vishnu's escort. Inspired by the Dravidian style of architecture, it is a colossal structure that shows the skill of the earlier craftsmen and architects. The beauty of the chariot lies in the fact that it looks like one solid structure but in fact, has been built by slabs of granite whose linkages have been cleverly hidden with artistic designs. Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the chariot is often referred to as the flagship tourist attraction of Hampi.