Gina writes:

Yesterday was a big holiday for Koraput. The main temple here honors the deity Jagganath and his big day is at this time of year.

Here he is with his brother and sister. Jaggy is the one with the black face.

The festival is called Ratha Yatra and symbolizes Jagganath (and his brother and sister) leaving their temple to visit their aunt's house, which is at another temple. More than 100,000 people witnessed the god's journey in Koraput.

Last year, it was raining hard, so we were only half-upset that we ended up hearing the wrong time for the celebration and missed it. This year, we decided we would participate no matter what.

On our way to lunch at a restaurant right by the Jagannath Temple, we saw groups of people lined up on the street. Not wanting to miss the excitement, we made our way to the densest group of people down the street about 300 yards from the temple. There was the cart that Lord Jagganath and his brother and sister would be carried to.

While we waited, it started to rain a little, but not enough to call for our umbrellas, so no problem. I was excited to be able to use my new camera (thanks Corey!), especially since the display of color was especially amazing.

I think this is my favorite picture that I've taken so far to show the colors of India (along with the tribal feel of Koraput).

After about 30 minutes, the first of the three gods arrived. With all the people, it was hard to see what was going on, but it was fun to see the excitement on the men's faces.

These dancers may or may not have been part of the official parade...who knows?

The last god to arrive was Jagganath, prompting an extra dose of fanfare. The video below isn't great, but gives a feel of the event. The men were carrying him in a prone position, but are preparing to place him on a white stool that will be carried to the chariot.

After all three gods were seated in the chariot, I really wanted to stay to see the men fighting to get their hands on the ropes that pull the cart. But all 100,000 people were in the same area now, we'd been standing in the drizzle for more than an hour at that time, and a friend told us that a puja (religious ritual) would be performed for about an hour before the chariot moved. Plus we were hungry. So we didn't get to see that part, but were glad we went.