Chakra Discussions

Lord Jagannath Establishes Himself On S. Africa's Inchanga Hills

by Rasaraja das, Chairperson, Jagannath Athletic Club

Posted January 9, 2006

His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has explained that devotees need to keep healthy bodies in order to be able to practice Krsna Consciousness.

Athletics and especially road running is a sport that enjoys some favour amongst some devotees in the South African Yatra, especially those living in Durban (Kwa-Zulu Natal).

Just outside Durban is the town of Chatsworth, site of the world famous Sri Sri Radha Radhanath Temple of Understanding. ISKCON is famous for this architectural genius and especially for its annual Ratha Yatra Festival. Durban is also world-amous for the annual Comrades Marathon that is run over a distance of 90 kilometres. This Ultra distance race is run either from Durban to Pietermaritzburg (the Up Run) or from Pietermaritzburg to Durban (the Down Run).

An article in the July/August 1997 issue of Back to Godhead relating H.H. Bhaktimarga Swami's 8000-Km cross-Canada trek confirmed and inspired more devotees and well-wishers of Srila Prabhupada to take part in road running and or walking. As one of those devotees, I felt that a formal Athletics Club would give devotees the facility to assist each other, plus create an opportunity for other people to join in a healthy way of life.

The Jagannath Athletic Club is established under the rules of Athletics South Africa and is based provincially in Cape Town. It is hoped that as the membership increases well-wishers and devotees will be able to arrange a formal road and or cross-country race/walk to facilitate better sporting code plus instill a firm basis of Krsna consciousness in athletics. At the finish of the race/walk participants will each receive a t-shirt displaying a picture of Srila Prabhupada.

People who would like to Join and or support the Jagannath Athletic Club may contact Rakesh Manohar, telephone 27 21 5574548 or 27 83 6422063, or email

In December 2003 and 2004 devotees attended the Twilight Fun Run/Walk while chanting Hare Krsna maha-mantra and dancing the 5-Km route through the streets of Cape Town. Many spectators watched club members and devotees carry Their Lordships Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra through the streets of Cape Town.

A 70-year-old petroglyph of Lord Jagannath can be found halfway up Inchanga Hill on the way from Durban to Pietermaritzburg, inspiring the name "Jagannath Athletic Club."

World-famous Ultra Distance Runner and nine-time Comrades winner Bruce Fordyce hands over a coveted "green number" to Rakesh Manohar (Rasaraja das) of the Jagannath Athletic Club in recognition of having completed ten successful races.