Ratha means chariot, and yatra means journey or procession. Generally, people are expected to go to the temple to see the Lord. That is the rule, and that is our duty. But on the day of Ratha-yatra, the Lord is so merciful that He comes out of the temple to see the people. In general, the worshiper goes to the temple to receive the Lord's mercy, but on Ratha-yatra the Lord comes out of the temple to give mercy to the people. So He is in an especially benevolent mood in Ratha-yatra. And we can experience His mercy in many ways.The first way is by pulling the ropes of the chariot. It is not easy to become a servant of even a great person in the world, like a king or president or prime minister, so what to speak of becoming a servant of God. One must be highly qualified and divinely blessed to be given that privilege. But in Ratha-yatra, we fallen souls are given the most extraordinary opportunity to render personal service to the Lord by pulling the ropes of His chariot, taking Him on a procession, and singing and dancing for His pleasure. We are offering personal service to Him. It is said that if one just participates in the Ratha-yatra festival if one just dances and claps his hands in ecstasy in front of the Deity of Krsna he will be purified of all sinful reactions. He will be liberated and go back home, back to Godhead.
Around each of the chariots are nine Parsva devatas, painted wooden images representing different deities on the chariots' sides. Each chariot has a charioteer (Sarathi) and four horses.The name of the chariot of Lord Jagannath is Nandighosha (aka as Garudadhwaja, Kapiladhwaja), of Lord Baldev Taladhwaja (aka Langaladhwaja) ad of Subhadra Devi it is Darpadalana (aka Devadalana, Padmadhwaja). The total number of wheels in each of the chariot are 16, 14 and 12. Total number of wooden pieces used are 832, 763 and 593. Height of each chariot is 44' 2", 43' 3" and 42' 3". The color of the canopies of each of the chariotLord Jagannath chariot is Red, Yellow, for Baldevji chariot it is Red, Bluish green and of Subhadra Devi chariot it is Red, Black. The name of horses of the chariot of Lord JAgannath is Shankha, Balahaka, Suweta and Haridashwa. The name of horses of Baldevji chariot, Tribra, Ghora, Dirghasharma and Swornanava. For Subhadraji chariot their names are Rochika, Mochika, Jita and Aparajita.