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Car festival gets off to a colourful start

Real Estate in Ukkunagaram

Men, women join in traditional attire to pull ropes of the chariot

The annual chariot festival or ‘Rath Yatra’ of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra, was marked with religious fervour, here in the city on Wednesday.

Over 1,000 people lined up to pull the ropes of the chariot carrying the deities during the Rath Yatra organised by International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

Ritual of ‘Chherapanhara’ or sweeping of the road and the chariot, before the start of the ‘yatra’ was performed by Visakhapanam MP K. Haribabu in the presence of ISKCON – Visakhapatnam president Samba Das and former Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University G.S.N. Raju.

While many men and women dressed in colourful traditional attire joined to pull and ropes, the others danced to the chant of ‘Hare Krishna’.

The procession, started from the Gandhi statue opposite GVMC office and meandered its way through Dabagardens, Jagadamba, Beach Road to Andhra University convocation hall. The convocation hall will be the makeshift ‘Gundicha ghar’ or the house of Lord Jagannath’s maternal aunt.

Due to the procession, there was a huge traffic jam all along the route, despite the presence of traffic police, as men and women joined the ‘yatra’ all along the route.

“The deities will remain there for about nine days and daily puja will be performed,” said Mataji of ISKCON.

This is the 50{+t}{+h}anniversary of ISKCON and globally 555 Rath Yatras will be taken out to mark the occasion, by the end of the year, said Samba Das.

At Ukkunagaram

At the Jagannath Temple in Ukkunagaram, CMD of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant P. Madhusudan performed the ‘Chherapanhara’ donning the traditional attire of a king.

A large number of devotees, employees and locals joined the celebration and actively pulled the chariot through the streets of the VSP Township amidst the chanting of the Lord’s name and dancing to the beats of ‘mridang’ and cymbals.

P.C. Mohapatra, Director (Projects), D.N. Rao, Director (Operations), Raychoudary, Director (Commercial), along with their family members offered prayers.

The evening was laced with colourful cultural programmes comprising Sambalpuri Folk dance and Odissi dance. The festival will culminate on July 17.

Utkal Samaj

The festival was observed with all religiosity by the Utkal Sanaskrutika Samaj and the ‘Rath Yatra’ began from the Utkal Temple with the customary cleaning of the chariot by Pramod Chandra Deo Bhanj.

The colourfully-decked up chariot with the three deities was pulled by devotees from the temple premises at Dasapalla Hills to the Gundicha Ghar at Lawsons Bay.

The chariot passed through All India Radio, HPCL Millennium petrol bunk, Andhra University gates, Chinna Waltair, VUDA Park, Peda Waltair Junction, Geeta Ashram to Lawsons Bay.

Highlight was the performance by the Sarala Ghanata Nritya troupe from Odisha. According to president of the samaj, S.C. Choudhury, former Chief Commissioner of Customs, the deities will be in Gundicha Ghar till July 13 and will return (Bahuda Yatra) on July 14, to the temple premises.

Regular pujas will be taken up at the Gundicha Ghar, during the Lord’s stay, said secretary of the samaj, S.K. Panigrahi.