This is an enormous holy chariot used during the Ratha Yatra festival at Orissa in India. One of three vast vehicles, it transports the wooden Jagganath idol bearing the heart of KRISHNA and is a real danger to other road-users. For starters, it’s around fifty feet high and takes several days to accelerate from zero to crawling pace.
The chariot itself is a thing of wonder — a sixteen-wheeled wooden leviathan constructed with over eight hundred pieces and decorated with brightly colored cloths. It also has the alternative name Jagganath, but this could be a dodge to avoid paying vehicle license.
The JUGGERNAUT is notorious in the west for one particular reason. According to legend, the truly devout used to throw themselves under the wheels in religious fervor and get crushed to death. This gave rise to Hindu road accidents with not a scrap of motor insurance. However, this could all be a catalog of nonsensical reportage dating from the mid nineteenth century when people would believe anything they read in the newspapers.
Despite all this, nowadays JUGGERNAUT is still a byword for road-clogging, hogging and gridlock. The name is not taken in vain amongst the heavy goods vehicle fraternity.