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  • Writer's pictureAnustup Kundu

ISKCON will Host a Grand Celebration for the 53rd Kolkata Rathayatra

News Desk, News Nation 360 : Major cities worldwide celebrate Rathayatra. This is an offering from Srila Prabhupada, the ISKCON founder-acharya who brought Krishna consciousness to the West. Srila Prabhupada aspired to see this festival celebrated magnificently in every city, and he guided and inspired his disciples to spread awareness of it across the globe. Srila Prabhupada arranged the first-ever Rathayatra in the western world on July 9, 1967, in San Francisco. The celebration has since expanded to numerous other nations. Rathayatra Day became so well-known by 1975 that the mayor of San Francisco officially declared it a public holiday. Currently, ISKCON conducts Rathayatras in more than 150 countries and over 700 cities and towns. This year marks the 53rd anniversary of the ISKCON-organized Kolkata Rathayatra. In 1972, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder Acharya of ISKCON, initiated the first Rathayatra in Kolkata, India. With over two million attendees, Kolkata's Rathayatra has grown to be the second biggest in the country after Puri's. Performing Rathayatra was not a novel concept to Srila Prabhupada. He used to worship Lord Jagannath when he was younger. When he was five years old, his father organised a small Ratha, and young Abhay (who would later become Srila Prabhupada) would conduct Rathayatra in his Burrabazar neighbourhood, giving the kids prasadam. Later, as Srila Prabhupada vigorously preached throughout the world, this childhood pastime evolved into a global celebration. The ISKCON Kolkata Rathayatra will be held on Sunday, July 7th, 2024 starting at 2 pm from the temple at 3C Albert Road. The procession will travel from Hungerford Street through various roads including AJC Bose Road, Hazra Road, Chowringhee Road, JL Nehru Road, and Outram Road before reaching the Brigade Parade Ground. Participants are invited to join the procession, offer fruits and flowers, and enjoy free prasadam after the chariots reach their destination. There is a belief that those who see the deities of Lord Jagannath, Baladeva, and Subhadra during the Rathayatra will be free from miseries and reach Vaikuntha-loka, the spiritual world. There's also a saying - "Rathe ca vamanam drstva punar janma na vidyate"- "Simply by seeing the Lord on the chariot, one makes advancement toward stopping the repetition of birth and death." On July 15th, there will be a return procession (Ultrathayatra) starting at noon from Outram Road near Park Street Metro and travelling back to the temple via a different route.


Pic - Krishnendu Kundu

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