Temple car

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Stone temple car in the Vitthala Temple at Hampi, India.
Temple car in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Temple cars are chariots that are used to carry representations of Hindu gods. The cars are usually used on annual festival days called 'Ther Thiruvizha' (தேர் திருவிழா), during which many people gather around.

The size of the largest temple cars inspired the Anglo-Indian term Juggernaut (from Jagannath), signifying a tremendous, virtually unstoppable force or phenomenon.

The procession of the Asia's largest & greatest temple car of Thiruvarur Thiyagarajar Temple in Tamil Nadu (in Tamil: ஆழித் தேர்) features prominently in an ancient festival held in the town. This festival, called Ratha Yatra, is a famous festival mainly observed in Eastern India. It is usually held annually in March and April, lasts more than 25 days, and is often mentioned in the devotional hymns of saints Tirugnanasambandar and Sundarar, as well as in Tamil literature. This great chariot is said to be the largest of its kind in height and weight, standing at 96 feet (29.26 m) tall and weighing more than 300 tons[which?].

As of 2004, Tamil Nadu had 515 wooden carts[dead link], 79 of which needed repairs. Annamalaiyar Temple, Tiruvannamalai, Chidambaram Natarajar Temple are among the temples that possess these huge wooden chariots for regular processions. The Natarajar Temple celebrates the chariot festival twice a year; once in the summer (Aani Thirumanjanam, which takes place between June and July) and another in winter (Marghazhi Thiruvaadhirai, which takes place between December and January). Lord Krishna of Udupi has five temple cars, namely Brahma ratha (the largest), Madya ratha (medium), kinyo (small), and the silver and gold rathas.


List of places with Temple cars[edit]

List of temples/cities having Golden cars[edit]



  • Sri Krishna matha, Udupi
  • Shri Durga Parameshwari temple, kateel

Tamil Nadu[edit]

Andhra Pradesh[edit]

  • Lord Shiva temple
  • Narasimhaswami temple and tirumala Sri vari ratham

See also[edit]