Ratha Yatra Season
BY: SUN STAFF
Jul 15, USA (SUN) All over the world, devotees of the Lord are engaged in the transcendental activities associated with Ratha Yatra. At ISKCON temples on several continents, preparations are made for the Deities, and magnificently huge chariots are brought forth to carry the Their Lordships out into the public view. Festival of India organizers arrange wonderful educational and cultural booths, mass quantities of prasadam are distributed, and the Vedic arts are performed by first class dancers, musicians and dramatists.
A few days ago in Jagannath Puri, the devotees were not subdued even by the heavy rains that greeted the appearance of the Ratha carts, which processed along the annual Puri Ratha Yatra route. After weeks of elaborate preparatory rituals, shouts of "Haribol!" and "Jai Jagannath!" were heard by all inhabitants of the Holy Dhama as Their Lordships Jagannath, Balabhadra, and sister Subhadra made Themselves available for the crowd's darshan.
The Deities were transported down the 22 balsi pahacha steps to the Simha Dwar (lion's gate), then were pulled by the ecstatic devotees along the route to Gundicha temple.
Security was extremely high for this year's festival of chariots in Puri, due to a recent terrorist attack in Ayodhya. In Ahmedabad, Gujarat, a security force of more than 15,000 persons was in place for the 128th annual Jagannath yatra there. More than 1,000 devotees pulled the beautifully garlanded chariots of Their Lordships along the traditional 15 kilometer route