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Faith Accompli: Jagannath Devotees Pour Out Braving Scorching Heat And Dust

by Indianexpress.com, Dhanya Nair Posted: Nov 23, 2008 at 0123 hrs IST

Posted November 25, 2008

Mumbai, November 22 : Mumbaikars are accustomed to various political yatras happening during the elections, but on Saturday they witnessed a different kind of yatra -a devotional one. Thousands of devotees cutting across barriers of caste, creed and community came together for the Jagannath Rath Yatra organised by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). The Yatra is organised each year with an aim to give people a sneak peek in to the original Jagannath Rath Yatra that happens every year at Puri in Orissa to infuse spirituality, unity and bhakti. "The Rath Yatra in Puri started about 1,000 years ago is a major experience, which sees an overwhelming crowd from all over the world. However, still many people in the city have not got a chance to experience it. So, this yatra here is an effort to make the main deity, Lord Jagannath's darshan viable to the city dwellers," said ISKCON counsellor Guru Upendra Das.

The Yatra started at Shivaji Park in the late afternoon and continued till night passing through areas like Sena Bhavan, Plaza, Hanuman Mandir, Portuguese Church, Gokhale Road, Khed Galli and then back to Shivaji Park. "Our founder Acharya Srila Prabhupada started this yatra way back in 1967 all over the world. So far, we have had such processions in countries like San Francisco, France, UK, Australia and Germany to name a few. We started the same in the city some four years ago. Earlier we have had yatras taking place from Lower Parel, Prabhadevi and Shivaji Park itself," said Das.

For the devotees thronging from far off places like Dombivili, Kalyan and Palghar this is an opportunity for them to catch a glimpse of their favourite God. "I have never got an opportunity to go to Orissa, so I will in no way give this chance a miss, despite the long hours of commute and the fact that I only have one day weekend I came here," said 28-year-old, Aadesh Yashwant who came all the way from Palghar. "The sun, pollution and traffic snarls┐ surprisingly nothing is bothering me today. There is a feeling of peace," he adds, while moving with the crowd chanting 'Hare Rama, Hare Krishna'.

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