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Gearing up for Rath Yatra festival, devotees celebrate Snana Utsav

Jamshedpur, June 28 : City-based socio-cultural associations have started gearing up for Rath Yatra festival which will be celebrated on July 14.

As run up to the festival organisationslike Iskcon and other temples from where RathYatra will be taken out celebrated SnanaUtsav or the bathing festival. Iskcon which has started organisingRathYatra in a massive way in Jamshedpur for the last three years celebrated it at the Sakchi based Dhalbhumgarh Club. The rituals that began at 4 pm witnessed participation from various cross section of the society.

“A blend of religious zeal and passion convert the streets and alleys of the city into a kaleidoscope of colors and gaiety. Festival begins with a huge fanfare of drums and cymbals,” said a devotee.

The bathing festival before the Rathyatra is celebrated on the Purnima (full moon day) of the Hindu month of Jyeshtha. The day holds a great significance as this is the first occasion in the year as per the Hindu calendar, when the deities Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are brought out from the Jagannath Temple in Puri and taken in a procession to the SnanaBedi. There they are ceremonially bathed and decorated for a public audience with the devotees.

The priests from Iskcon performed Abhishek with ghee on all the three deities- Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra followed by a grand floral decoration at the Dhalbhum Club. It was then kept for ‘darshan’ by the devotees who also indulged themselves in hymns of Shri Krishna.

This year too, the grand IskconRathYatra festival with 50 ft tall chariots will start from the Ram Mandir in Bistupur and will culminate at Dhalbhum Club in Sakchi.

Maintaining the rich tradition, the RathYatra Committee of Jugsalai is set to organise a grand ‘rathyatra’ during which the Lord Jagannath was worshipped with his elder brother Bala-Rama and his sister Subhadra.

“I have been making these chariots since two decades. Though it is a small chariot but still our devotion and passion is no less,” said ManikMahapatra , a carpenter.
He went on to add that for generations’ they have been preparing the ‘rath’ for the grand occasion. Devotees appreciate the creative work and this is the best reward they receive.

For most of the workers and craftsmen, who have been making the sacred chariot of Lord Jagannath through generations, it is a labour of reverence and faith.
The festival is celebrated by pulling out large wooden wheel chariots of Lord Jagannath, along with sister Subhadra and brother Balram from the temple through the city’s decorated streets for hours.

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