Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lord Jagannath all set for gala journey.

VADODARA: Lord Jagannath along with Lord Balram and Devi Subhadra will make their gala journey in the city on a decorated chariot on Wednesday that marks the auspicious day of Aashadh sud bij as per the Gujarati calendar.

After a break of five years, the 32nd annual Rath Yatra that will pass through rain-kissed roads will witness an elephant leading the festival of chariots.

In the wake of the serial blasts that rocked Mahabodhi Temple in Bihar, security has been beefed up at Gotri temple of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) that has been holding the annual Rath Yatra since last 31 years.

The Rath Yatra will begin at railway station at 2.30 pm when mayor of Vadodara Municipal Corporation Bharat Shah will emulate the ancient ritual enacted yearly by the Gajapati Maharajah of Puri, in which he will symbolically sweep the road in front of the cart of Lord Jagannath to inaugurate the august event.

Vadodara district collector Vinod Rao will be the chief guest at the inauguration of the procession.

"We have obtained the permission for an elephant to lead the procession. With this the Rath Yatra this year will be held in its most traditional way. Over the years, the Rath Yatra has turned into one of the largest cultural and religious festival of Gujarat's cultural capital," ISKCON Baroda's president Basu Ghosh Das informed media persons on Monday.

"Fifteen tones (15,000 kilogram) of 'shira prasad' cooked in desi ghee will be distributed to devotees from four trucks moving behind the chariot. Also, the forest department has arranged for distribution of 20,000 saplings during the procession as 'taru prasad'. This is the fifth year that the forest department will be distributing saplings on the route of the Rath Yatra," ISKCON Baroda's secretary Nityananda Ram Das said.

Quintals each of rava, sugar, pure ghee specially brought from Jamkhambhalia, cashew nuts, raisins and cardamom will be used for the 'shira prasad' that will be distributed along with bananas en route.

Later on Wednesday evening once the Rath Yatra procession gets over, full plates of 'prasad' that includes 'shira', 'puri', rice-kadhi will be distributed to around 40,000 visitors at the ISKCON temple premises.

The Rath Yatra will proceed from the railway station to Sayajibaug, Kalaghoda, Salatwada naka, Kothi Kacheri, Raopura main road, Jubilee baug, Padmavati shopping centre, Sursagar lake, Dandia Bazaar, Khanderao Market, Lal Court, Nyay Mandir, Madan Zhapa Road, Kevdabaug and end at Baroda High School, opposite Polo ground.

BOX: 50 students from 26 countries to chant 'Hare Rama, Hare Krishna'

Vadodara: Amidst the colorful procession of the Rath Yatra that will include a chariot, elephant, bands, buggies, horses and even 'bakra gadi', a group of 50 Gurukul students will shine out as they fill the air with chants of 'Hare Rama, Hare Krishna'.

Fifty students of Bhaktivedanta Academy (Gurukula) who reside at ISKCON's spiritual world headquarters at Sridham Mayapur, West Bengal, the birthplace of the founder of the Sankritan movement Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, have arrived in the city to participate in the Rath Yatra along with their teachers.

Starting from a one-year-old kid to a 26-year-old youth, these students, hailing from 26 countries across six continents, are being educated at the academy on the principles of the Vedic Gurukula system.

"At the academy, established in 1984, we make them fully Krishna conscious. These students hailing from North and South America, Europe, China, Taiwan, Russia, Australia and other Asian countries learn how to sing, worship the deity, conduct yagna puja along with English, Sanskrit, Mathematics and Science," principal Priti Vardhana Das told TOI.

"These students are on a month-long 'parikrama' which is part of their education curriculum. The Rath Yatra is the last leg of the parikrama," he said.

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