Few days back Bangalore witnessed a historical event, it was the Age old and Most Popular festival of India called Rath Yatra,celebrated originally in Puri,Orrisa.The devotees from ISKCON Sri Narasimha Giridhari Mandir in HBR layout had celebrated this most joyous festival on Saturday,21st which happened to be Ugadi day,by bringing the Lord of the Universe,Sri Jagannath (Form of Krishna) along with his beautiful brother,Balaram and Sister,Subhadra out on the streets of Bangalore.
Their Lordships had arrived form ISKCON Sri Jagannath Mandir in Seshadripuram.They travelled on their divine and beautifully decorated chariot by being pulled by all his enthusiastic and dear devotees, starting from Banaswadi Ayyapa Temple to ISKCON HBR layout passing through Jalvayu Vihar,Kammanahalli and many places bestowing their causeless mercy on the fortunate Bangaloreans.
It is said that Lord Jagannath sometimes intensely and eagerly desires to meet his most dear devotees in Vrindavan and therefore leaves the grandeaur majesty of Dvaraka. He wants to enjoy the natural beauty of Vrindavan like the forests,rivers,lakes and cows there which is not there in Dvaraka. The Lord is served in Dvaraka like a Royal King with so much opulence but that does not satisfy him as much as the simple and pure love of the residents of Vrindavan. In Vrindavan Krishna is loved like a small dependable child by Mother Yashoda, chastised by his boyfriends(Gopas) and Girlfriends(Gopis) and he really loves and enjoys all these dealings which are not present in Dvarka for which he is always anxious. So ISKCON Sri Jagannath Mandir in Seshadripuram is like Dvaraka and ISKCON Sri Narasimha Giridhari Mandir in HBR Layout is same as Vrindavan where Lord Jagannath arrived finally.
The Festival was attended by many high profile dignitaries of Bangalore and 150 devotees from over 35 countries had arrived.The Chief Guest however was His Holiness Jayapataka Swami Maharaj, a very senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada and a Spiritual Master in ISKCON.Srila Prabhupada had introduced Rath Yatra all over the world and had installed Lord Jagannath in the hearts of many people. Maharaj has been visiting Bangalore for preaching Krishna Consciousness for quite a long time since 80s and as a result of that we have now over five centres of ISKCON in Bangalore.The festival started at around 4 in the evening with Maharaj explaining its significance and he said that Sri Narasimha Giridhari Mandir is not different from Vrindavan because Lord Giridhari, Srimati Radha,the cows all are present there.All the devotees present became blissful after hearing it and then the dignitaries spoke. After that their Lordships were seated on their beautiful chariot and the front path way was being cleaned by devotees as a custom by a special broom.
The devotees had also made many attractive rangoli designs on the road.The Rath was now being pulled by devotees along with devotees enthusiastically chanting the Hare Krsna Mahamanta.The whole group was very synchronized with Ladies on the left side and Men on the right dancing and chanting in a very attractive way.Actually the Hari Naam Sankirtan was introduced by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu 500 years ago as the most sublime and effective way of worshipping Lord in this age of Quarrel and hypocircy where it is very difficult to find a bonafide spiritual teacher and a bonafide process.
The festival was covered by many media channels like Suvarna TV and Prasad was distributed to over 30000 people.Many professional photographers had come and they had orgainsed a photo shoot contest. One of the attractions was the Pahandi Seva organized which happens in Puri. Many children had dressed up in various costumes as devatas during the procession because they also want to get the rare mercy of Lord Jagannath.After their Lordships reached Sri Narasimha Giridhari Mandir an opulent Bhoga was offered to their Lordships with over thousand delicacies prepared by his loving devotees.
Around evening there was a cultural program organized by the talented team of foreign devotees which included dancing,singing,drama all for the pleasure of their Lordships.The audience really liked it.Overall the Rath Yatra Festival was a success as many people got a glimpse of Krisha Consciousness and were introduced to our temple.It was a good outreach program to connect so many souls to the lotus feet of Lord Krishna. We will be observing this Rath Yatra festival hence forth onwards every year on Ugadi Day as it is very auspicious to begin our year with devotional activities.We look forward for more participation next year and want to improve the overall festival.