Like every year, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inaugurated the famous Kolkata Rath Yatra organised by ISKCON.
She greeted the people on the occasion of Rath Yatra and said, “May Lord Jagannath bless you with peace, prosperity and happiness”
ISKCON is celebrating its golden jubilee this year. The chief minister reached the temple at around 1100 hours, and after a darshan, flagged off the annual journey of the three deities.
Amid jubilant chants of “Hare Krishna”, thousands of devotees from across the world pulled the multi-hued chariots. Themed on the world’s largest Vedic temple Chandrodaya Mandir at West Bengal’s Mayapur, the ISKCON rath yatra witnessed legions of devotees accompany the deities atop three chariots from the Hungerford Street opposite the ISKCON temple on Albert Road in south Kolkata to reach the Brigade Parade Ground in the central part of the city
The chariots, or raths, moved through the Minto Park crossing, Sarat Bose Road, Hazra Road,
SP Mukherjee Road, Ashutosh Mukherjee Road, then on to Exide crossing, JL Nehru Road, Outram Road, to end at Brigade Parade Ground, where daily special darshan of Lord Jagananth from
July 7 to 14 has been arranged. Prasad will also be distributed during the darshans.
Cultural programmes, special contests for empowerment, a youth festival, and performances by Russian dancers and a Kolkata-based dance troupe will be held during the week-long festival. Students will hold classes on reducing stress and mental fatigue.
As a sideshow to the festival, a fair has been organised at the Brigade Parade ground where devotees can participate in songs, dances, kirtans (devotional songs) and various other cultural programmes.
Folk and tribal artists from Odisha enthralled audiences with their performances while women participated in contests at making peetha (a type of sweet from West Bengal and Odisha).