Women taking out a mangal kalash yatra as part of the pre-inaugural function of the eighth Hindu spiritual fair at Guru Nanak college in Velachery, Chennai on Tuesday; (Below) Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche during the Hindu Spiritual Fair | Sunish P Surendran

CHENNAI: More than a thousand women dressed in colorful, traditional north-Indian attire took out a  procession carrying brass water pots on their head from Dandeeswaram temple to Guru Nanak College to kick off the Ninth edition of the Hindu Spiritual Fair here on Tuesday.

The procession christened the ‘Ganga-Kaveri Kalash Yatra’ involved the mixing of Ganga and Cauvery waters, they carried on their pots, at a common fountain at Guru Nanak College.

The procession symbolising a confluence of cultures, which also featured dancing and singing of bhajans, was lead by spiritual leaders such as Pujya Sri Omkarananda Mahaswamiji. Srimat Swami Bodhasaranandaji Maharaj and Buddhist leader Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche.

Speaking at the event, the spiritual leaders said the Spiritual fair was actually a celebration of pan India culture and religion.

“The real threats to our country lie within,” said Sri Omkarananda Mahaswamiji, observing a widespread disregard for ‘culture’ and ‘ethics’.

“It is time for us to come together as Hindu people and show solidarity,” he said, emphasising the need to avoid crass, distasteful language and violence to achieve goals. He said Hinduism preaches inclusiveness and called for teaching of religious texts in schools and colleges to ensure that the next generation is in touch with our cultural past.

Tibetian Buddhist leader, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, advocated compassion and the power of self-awareness. “Practising these qualities will go a long way in sustaining peace,” he said.

The Hindu Spiritual Fair, organised by Hindu Spiritual and Service foundation and The Initiative for Moral and Cultural Training Foundation, will be open to public from 10 am to 9 pm till Monday “This fair is an opportunity to meet people from various communities and celebrate each other’s cultures,” he said.

The fair will also feature a vegetarian food court with traditional food items and training modules.

“The fair looks to cater to the 240 million young minds between the ages 12-21. Most of these people don’t have facilities available to their counterparts in the cities. We want to reach out to all these young minds regardless of their upbringing, caste and religion and give them the gift of our rich culture,” said Gopal Srinivasan, Chairman of TVS Capital Funds who delivered the thematic address.