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Shri Shri Jagannath`s Rath Yatra (Kaang)

By Rebati Mohan Sinha

The Bishnupriya Manipuris living in the metro cities of India seemed to be charged with their cultural and spiritual roots sown by their ancestors. The Bishnupriya Manipuri living in Kolkata had celebrated last year`s Rath Yatra on 15th July 2007 by a own built Rath, and Pune was not lagging behind in this celebration. Brishnupriya Manipuri people residing there have promised to build a Rath to celebrate this auspicious occasion on 04th July 2008. The preparations are afoot to build the Rath at Range Hill, Pune. Shri Kulajit Rajkumar, an engineer, is entrusted with the job.

Other day, while offering the shradda of late Guru Devendra Sinha at Pune, I was casually briefing the gathering about the building of a Rath at Kolkata, suddenly a renowned gentleman, named, Shri Ramsena Sinha, rose to his feet, interrupting my speech, assured me that they will also build the Rath at Pune. I continued with my briefing, saying that last year the custom built Chariot, bearing sacred images of Lord Krshna and his associates, festooned with colorful canopies, flower garlands and other decorations by a team of devotee-volunteers lead by an engineer, named Shri Nirmalendu Sinha, the architect of building the Rath at Kolkata. This festival brings the Bishnupriya Manipuri residents of Kolkata and it`s suburbs together during it`s 9 day`s celebration.

It is a demonstration of universal peace, goodwill and equality of all in the eyes of God. Like many of the young volunteers helping to keep the parade running smoothly. It was heard; some youngsters credited such festivals with connecting them to their cultural & spiritual roots. `Being a part of the organization has helped us to understand and better appreciate the amazing gift that we were given.’

The day`s show stealer, however, was a father-daughter duo`s splendid performance with` Mridanga Chalan’, that had the audience of our adults and children spell bound. It would not be out of place if we would mention the unnamed personalities, who had carried the celebration in a greater scale.

The festival of the chariot plying is modeled after the festival of Rath yatra,
one of the most important annual events in the calendar year of Hindu faith. This festival is especially sacred to Bishnupriya Manipuri community as a whole, the vaishnavas (devotees of Lord Krishna) in particular. In the sea side of holy city of Jagannath Puri every summer, at the beginning of monsoon season, the deity is taken out of the temple amidst great fan fare, and placed on the bright and colorful chariot for annual visit to his aunt’s home at Gundacha Mandir which is 2 km. away from Puri Temple. On 9th day, Lord Krishna comes back to his abode ie Puri Temple.(Fira Rath).

The Rath yatra, or a journey on Chariot is a popular event high lighting richly decorated Rath pulled along the streets of Puri, where devotees gather to catch glimpse of Lord and his associates Subhadra and Balabhadra.

In the yesteryears the king of Orissa swept the streets, on which the Chariot plied, with broom, made up of gold. In a country, where pilgrimages are of immense value, they represent an inward journey through hardship and hurdles to attain salvations or God. It is this journey of experience leading to truth, knowledge and light.

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  1. a nice write up.
    waiting to read this year celebration.


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