Detroit Rathayatra: a Great Event
Posted September 28, 2007
From the reactions and feedback we got from everyone, this year's Rathayatra festival in Detroit was the best one yet. A new team of volunteers had formed and with a great spirit of cooperation and dedication, headed by Venugopal Pamidi Prabhu and Srinivas Pejathaya prabhu (who, besides being a great coordinator/organizer, also happens to be one of the best Mrdanga players you can find), planned out the promotion, and arranged the day's events, which went wonderfully for the pleasure of Their Lordships, Lord Jagannatha, Lord Balarama, and Lady Subhadra. The weather could not have been better, and a great crowd of devotees attended to show their devotion to the deities.
All of our sponsors, senior devotees, our GBC, and the guests which ranged around 2500 attendees, were all blessed by the presence of the deities, and said how nice the festival went this year. We had some of our best kirtan leaders help with the chanting of the holy names of the Lord, such as Bhaumadeva Prabhu, Gaura Sundara Prabhu, Ajamila dasa Prabhu, as well as Tirthapada, Radheshyam and Sachi Suta Prabhus and others. So if you know how nice they can sing and chant the holy names, then you will know how nice the kirtan was as we rolled along the street on Belle Isle here in Detroit.
The parade lasted almost three hours along a nearly two mile route, allowing everyone to have a chance at pulling the ropes to the cart that held the deities. Sometimes it would stop, and the kirtan would get louder and stronger, spreading the sacred vibration throughout the area. A truck of bottled water was near the front of the parade, within easy reach for anyone who wanted it. Prasada packets were also passed out amongst the devotees and guests in the parade. And numerous people driving around Belle Ilse also got the mercy as they saw the devotees and cart with the deities, allowing everyone to have darshan of Their Lordships.
When we finally arrived at the festival site, many people lined up for puja of the deities.
In the main tent a lovely program of various styles of dance was presented, along with a drama and lively kirtans. Many people also said that this year's prasada feast was the best yet, due to the potency of Mother Saroj Netri devi dasi, who headed up the kitchen group, and who traveled along with her husband all the way from Vrindavana just to help out. The serving of the prasada was also very organized and well done. The tents with displays was also arranged in a different way this year, allowing everyone who lined up for the feast to go through the exhibit on vegetarianism before reaching the serving tent. Other displays were also well received, and a most popular one was the book tent and the spiritual paraphernalia.
The children's tent was also a place with much activity, and many of the children contentedly stayed there for three to four hours without hankering for their parents, allowing them to enjoy other areas of the festival.
So this year saw the best Rathayatra Detroit has ever had, and the festival team immediately had a meeting a few days later to start developing strategies for how to make it even better next year. Therefore, if this was the best Rathayatra yet, then next year's goal is to make it even bigger. So everyone should make a note that if you are able to attend, mark your calendars for next year's Rathayatra in Detroit to share in spreading the sound of the holy names and our devotion to Lord Jagannatha.
To see a slide show of the highlights of the Detroit Rathayatra, please use the following link: Click Here
Jai Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra!!! Hare Krishna.