ISKCON announced the route of Rath Yatra

ISKCON announced the route of Rath Yatra

Kolkata : This year, Kolkata Rathayatra, organized by ISKCON, is celebrating its 53rd year. The founder Acharya of ISKCON, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, started the first Rathayatra in India and Kolkata in 1972. Since then, Kolkata Rathayatra has become the second largest Rathayatra after Puri’s, attracting over 2 million people.

The Hon’ble Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, will inaugurate the Rathayatra on July 7, 2024, around 2 pm from ISKCON Temple located at 3C Albert Road, Kolkata-700017

The Rathayatra route is as follows: Rathayatra (Sunday, July 7, 2024, starting at 2 pm from ISKCON Temple at 3C Albert Road)

Hungerford Street -> A.J.C Bose Road -> Sarat Bose Road -> Hazra Road -> S.P.M Road -> A.T.M Road -> Chowringhee Road -> Exide Crossing -> J.L. Nehru Road –> Outram Road -> (Straight to Brigade Parade Ground).

Ultarathayatra (Monday, July 15, 2024, starting at 12 noon from Outram Road near Park Street Metro)

Brigade Parade Ground -> Outram Road -> Left Turn -> J.L. Nehru Road -> Dorina Crossing -> S.N. Banerjee Road -> Moulali Crossing -> C.I.T Road -> Suhrawardy Avenue -> Park Circus 7-point crossing -> Shakespeare Sarani -> Hungerford Street -> 3C Albert Road (ISKCON Temple)

All those fortunate souls residing along the Rathayatra route are requested to come out and pull the Lord’s chariots. They can offer fruits and flowers to the Lord and accompany the chariots to Brigade Parade Ground, where free kichadi prasadam will be served once the Ratha reaches the ground. It is stated in the sastra that anyone who sees the Deities of Lord Jagannath, Baladeva, and Subhadra during their Rathayatra procession will quickly be rid of their miseries and bound to reach Vaikuntha-loka, the eternal, spiritual world where anxiety does not exist.

‘Rathe ca vamanam drstva punar janma na vidyate’: ‘Simply by seeing the Lord on the chariot, one makes advancement toward stopping the repetition of birth and death.’

On the day of Rathayatra and Ultarathayatra, apart from the three chariots of Their Lordships Jagannath, Baladev, and Subhadra Devi, there will be three trolleys and ten mini-vans where children will depict different pastimes of the Lord and His devotees. A group of devotee artists from South India will move ahead of the three chariots and create street art with natural organic gulal in a few minutes for the pleasure of the Lord, literally painting the Kolkata streets with beautiful designs. In front of each chariot, internationally famous kirtaniyas with dozens of mridangas and kartals will perform roaring and heart-touching kirtans. In the middle of the one-kilometer-long procession, there will be a prasadam bus distributing Jagannath prasadam to everyone.

The ISKCON chariots, or Rathas, for Their Lordships have many unique features:

1. Lord Baladev’s Ratha is the tallest, standing at 38 feet high, 18 feet wide, and nearly 36 feet long. Despite Kolkata’s crisscrossed streets with thousands of overhead cables and tram electric wires, the Ratha moves easily due to its collapsible canopy, which can be expanded to its full size within minutes. Lord Baladev’s Ratha having iron wheel and is made of 90% iron. ISKCON has been using the same chariots for the last 40 years.

2. Subhadra Devi’s chariot is the smallest, with iron wheels and a collapsible design from both the top and sides.

3. Lord Jagannath’s chariot is slightly smaller than Baladev’s but larger than Subhadra’s, standing at 36 feet high, 17 feet wide, and nearly 30 feet long, with boing 777 wheels to support the heavy structure.

Lord Jagannath, along with His Divine siblings, will stay at Brigade Parade Ground (opposite Park Street Metro Station) from July 8 to 14, 2024, where a grand mela will be organized. Hot kichadi prasadam will be served daily from 3:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Prominent artists from India and abroad, including Dona Ganguly’s dance troupe and Padma Shri award-winning dancers, will perform daily. Cultural programs, including dance, drama, kirtans, shadow dance, and pravachans, will captivate the audience.

Everyone can offer puja for themselves and their family members and have darshan of Lord Jagannath, Baladev, and Subhadra Devi any day from July 8 to 14, 2024, between 4:30 pm and 8:30 pm at Brigade Parade Ground, opposite Park Street Metro Station and off Outram Road (Car parking is available on Outram Road, with entry from Fort William side).

The theme of this year’s Rathayatra is the 150th birth anniversary of His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada Maharaj, the founder-acharya of Gaudiya Matha and the guru of ISKCON’s founder-acharya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada Maharaj planted the seed of ISKCON in the heart of young Abhay Charan Dey, who later became His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and started the worldwide Hare Krishna movement, known as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness or ‘ISKCON’.

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