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Yātrā (Sanskrit: यात्रा, 'journey', 'procession'), in Hinduism and other Indian religions, generally means pilgrimage to holy places such as confluences of sacred rivers, places associated with Hindu epics such as the Mahabharata and Ramayana, and other sacred pilgrimage sites.[1] Tīrtha-yātrā refers to a pilgrimage to a holy site, and is generally undertaken in groups. One who goes on a yatra is known as a yatri.

A yatra is a kamya ritual; it is desirable, but not obligatory, for a Hindu to perform it. One can go on a yatra for a variety of reasons, including festivals, to perform rituals for one's ancestors, or to obtain good karma. To traditional Hindus, the journey itself is as important as the destination, and the hardships of travel serve as an act of devotion in themselves.[2] Visiting a sacred place is believed by the pilgrim to purify the self and bring one closer to the divine.[3]

In present times, yatras are highly organised affairs, with specialised tourism companies catering to the need of yatris. State governments are sometimes involved in the organisation of annual yatras, stipulating numbers, registering yatris, and regulating yatri traffic.[4][5]

Other meanings

'Yatra' can also describe a procession, or any festival which figures a procession, such as Rath Yatra, where chariots are pulled in parade down the streets of Puri in Orissa. In modern times the word can be used to denote marches or demonstrations, for political, environmental or societal causes.[6][7][8]

The terms 'jatra' and 'zatra' are derived from yatra.

See also

References

  1. Juergensmeyer, Mark (2006). The Oxford Handbook of Global Religions. U.S.: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195137981. 
  2. Fowler, Jeaneane D. (1997). "Yatra: Pilgrimage". Hinduism: Beliefs and Practices. Sussex Academic Press. ISBN 1898723605. 
  3. Timothy, Dallen J.; Daniel H. Olsen (2006). Tourism, Religion and Spiritual Journeys. Routledge. ISBN 0415354455. 
  4. "Amarnath Yatra". Office of Divisional Commissioner, Jammu and Kashmir Government. http://kashmirdivision.nic.in/about/services/amryatra.htm. 
  5. Singh Ahluwalia, Manjit. "Holy Chhari or Manimahesh Yatra". Social, Cultural and Economic History of Himachal Pradesh. Indus Publishing. ISBN 8173870896. http://books.google.com/books?id=tG0fnF0VRk0C&pg=PA94&lpg=PA94&dq=yatra+%22state+government%22&source=web&ots=C6nt8Pyvtl&sig=KSDNy4uNFAI-G_0bxmem7vFl7o8. 
  6. "Jal Adhikar Yatra Takes Off". The South Asian. September 10, 2006. http://www.thesouthasian.org/archives/2006/jal_adhikar_yatra_takes_off.html. 
  7. "'Save Noyyal Yatra' draws good crowd". The Hindu Business Line. October 3, 2005. http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2005/10/03/stories/2005100302571300.htm. 
  8. "India's rally for Right to Education - Shiksha Adhikar Yatra". Global Call to Action Against Poverty. July 3, 2007. http://www.whiteband.org/media/gcap-news/archives/gcapnews.2007-07-03.0004416740. 

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