In India, most festivals celebrate a principal deity and the chief consort. For everyone who has a sibling, they do not need a reminder as to how special that bond is. While Lord Jagannath, another name of the playful cowherd god Krishna, is often seen with his chief consort, Radha; in Puri he resides with his siblings -- Goddess Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra.

For an event that is the axis around which the whole calendar of Odisha tourism revolves, it has quite a few interesting facts.

1. Just like the summer vacations meant a lot to us, as a once-in-a-year occasion to visit our native places, the Lord wishes to visit Mathura, His birthplace, just once a year, too. To honour His wishes, this yatra is undertaken from the Jagannath temple to the Gundicha temple with his siblings as his travel companions.

2. The Jagannath Temple is one of the more orthodox spaces in the Hindu landscape of India where members of other faiths are discouraged to participate in the rituals. However, during Rathyatra, the gates are thrown open to all humanity.

3. Siblings in our mundane lives are not too keen on sharing. Gods don’t appear to be an exception! All the three siblings travel in their own chariots, known as Nandighosha, Taladhwaja, and Devadalana.

4. New chariots for the deities are built every year out of wood even if the architect of the chariots remain the same. Each chariot has its own team of four handsome wooden horses to help carry it.

5. Every year, the devotees throng the temple town of Puri to have the once in a lifetime opportunity to pull the chariots using ropes. The sight of such devotion is mesmerising to say the least.

6. However, so attached is the Lord to his home in Puri that it is believed His homesickness overpowers Him at the last moment and the chariot refuses to move in spite of the untiring efforts of the devotees. The chariot moves only after persuasion takes place in the form of festivities and a cosmic intervention or so is believed.

7. A week before the Rathyatra, the gates of the temple are shut as it is believed that the Lord suffers from high fever. Like most of us who yearn for relaxation, the Lord rests, preparing for his most awaited journey. And yes, this road to recovery is aided by numerous home remedies.

8. Temples are places where gods reside and devotees throng to seek blessings. However, at Rathyatra, the deities move out of their temples and reach out to the masses.

9. With the earth’s seasonal cycle being progressively askew, it is interesting that this festival is celebrated on Ashadh Shukla Dwitiya and it inevitably rains on this day.

10. With a vacation at the Gundicha Temple that lasts 9 days, the siblings return home but not without their stop for the Lord’s choicest dessert! Folklore holds that Lord Jagannath cannot return without having His helping of Poda Pitha, which is a pancake typical to Odisha.