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Rathyatra Festival
1 July 2003, Auckland, New Zealand

On 1st July, 2003 Hindus in India celebrated Rath Yatra. It is believed, according to Hindu Mythology, that Lord Krishna and his brother Bal ram were invited on "Rath" to Mathura by his Mama Kuns with the intention to kill them. Instead, Lord Krishna and Balram killed him and relieved the people of his kingdom from his evil acts. From that day all the followers celebrate this day.

On 6th July 2003, Sunday, Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Avondale celebrated Rath Yatra with great pomp by the grace of H.D.H. Pramukh Swami Maharaj. About 125 devotees, including Kishors and Kishoris participated on that day.

At 4:30 pm the Rath was brought to the Reception area. The Rath was nicely decorated with a swan on each side and lot of colorful flowers and beautiful umbrella over it. A murti of H.D.H Pramukh Swami Maharaj was in the front seat of the Rath. Shree Hari Krishna Maharaj was brought to the Rath by the priest of the temple with devotees. Hari Krishna Maharaj was dressed in bottle green attire and was gracefully placed on the Rath.

With bhajans and kirtan the devotees started the Rath Yatra. Kishors were dressed in traditional dress and pulling the Rath. Despite Cold wind there was enthusiasm and excitement in all the devotees. Dancing and singing along the Rath Yatra continued. At the end of each round devotees conducted Aarti. At 6:00 p.m. the Rath Yatra ended in the reception area.

Thereafter everybody gathered in the Sabha Hall for attending Ravi Sabha. Yuvak mandal started with Dhoon and Kirtan. There was a short speech on Rath Yatra and its associated history. There was also mention about the upcoming Chatur Mas. Yuvak mandal gave speech on various benefits of fasting in Chatur Mas.

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