Mayapur ISKCON Rath Yatra to draw one lakh devotees
Kolkata: Over one lakh devotees from 81 countries including India are set to participate in the annual Jagannath Rath Yatra festival and Fair at the global spiritual headquarter of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)in Mayapur of Nadia district from July 4.
As part of the colourful rituals, three carts of Lord Jagannath, Baladev and Subhadra will be taken out on July 4, from the ISKCON Rajapur temple with the journey culminating at the main ISKCON Mayapur campus covering a distance of six km.
On the way, the three decked up carts will pass through the birth place of 16th century Vaishnava saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
"Considering the mammoth crowd, of more than 1 lakh, that Rath Yatra at Mayapur pulls every year we have made elaborate security arrangements and also plan to set up medical booths on the way to take care of people in case of any emergency," said Subroto Das, Media Spokesperson of ISKCON Mayapur.
The fair and festivities would conclude with the Ulto Rath or the return journey of the three carts from the Mayapur campus to the Rajapur temple on July 12.
Around 4,000 of the devotees would be visiting Mayapur during the festival from 80 foreign countries like Brazil, Australia, USA, UK, China, Spain and Russia.
The novelty this year lies in the construction of a huge pandal depicting the Jagannath temple which will become the Gundicha temple, where the Lord Jagannath will rest along with His siblings - Baladev and Subhadra for nine days till the return journey on July 12.
A variety of cultural programmes would be presented by professional artists over the nine days.
"It has been planned to distribute Chhappan Bhog (56 delicacies) for free to all visitors during these nine days," said Das.
The festival commemorates the annual journey of Lord Jagannath, Lord Baladev, and their sister Subhadra to their aunt's place, the Gundicha Temple.
The Rath Yatra was first celebrated by ISKCON in San Francisco in 1967. Currently, the festival is being organised in more than 1,000 centres across the world.