A crescendo of colour and sound flooded the streets of Wembley as the annual Rath Yatra festival organised by BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden, was celebrated with great pomp and devotion on the afternoon of Sunday 3 July 2005. The event provided greater significance this year with the release of Mystic India, illustrating the grand festival in full glory.
The Yatra commenced at 3pm from the Alperton Community School in Stanley Avenue, Alperton. Following the traditional chanting of shaantipath by sadhus, the procession – led by the sacred image of Harikrishna Maharaj (Bhagwan Swaminarayan) and the BAPS Akshar Marching Band from Leicester – gathered momentum and progressed towards Ealing Road where the large population of Sunday shoppers gathered to witness the exhibition of sound and colour.
Sadhus and devotees sang devotional songs en route providing the festival with musical devotion. Children dressed in traditional attire joined teenagers and youths in dance entertaining the local community who eagerly captured photographs of the beautifully crafted Raths, replicating the majestic scenes of Mystic India.
The strong group of volunteers assisting with the security ensured a hugely enjoyable afternoon for all those present. Despite the early drizzle, the atmosphere remained jovial and invigorated throughout the journey as the joyful crowd returned to the Mandir shortly after 6pm to an evening assembly in the courtyard in front of the Mandir.
Local Members of Parliament and Councillors also took part in the Yatra including Rt. Hon. Tony McNaulty MP – Home Office Minister, Hon. Dawn Butler MP and Hon. Sarah Teather MP.
Brent Council and the Local Police provided their generous support to enable a hugely successful event.