On the auspicious occasion of Rath Yatra, BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir,Kolkata, organised a magnificent Rath Yatra Utsav on 3Jully 2011.
The inauguration ceremony, performed by learned sadhus, began at 3:00 p.m. with Vedic puja of the murtis of Shri Akashar-Purushottam Maharaj, Shri Harikrishna Maharaj, Shri Balaram, Shri Subhadra Devi and Shri Jagannath.
The chief guests invited for the occasion were:
Shri Dinesh Trivedi (Minister-of-State for Health & Family Welfare – Govt. of India),
Shri Subroto Bakshi (Minister for PWD & Transport – Govt. of West Bengal),
Shri Sovan Chatterjee (Mayor of Kolkata) and
Shri Sachchidananda Banerjee (Chairman of Kolkata Municipality).
The guests performed the Vedic puja with the chants of Sanskrit slokas. Thereafter they swept the road - chera pahanra – with the traditional golden broom. Finally at 4:00 pm, thousands joined together to pull the huge 35 feet high rath on its journey through the major streets of South Kolkata. The traditional sound of gongs played by Oriya performers and 100 women in golden yellow saris waving flags added color and devotion to the festive celebration. The yatra returned to the mandir by 7:00 pm where the maha-arti was performed.
The festival was a great success with over 30,000 people participating along the roads to pull the rath as it made its way. Famous Kathakar, Shri Bhagwat Rishi, also participated by pulling the rath.