Nine-day Ratha Yatra festival begins countywide

Published at : 07 July 2024, 10:55 pm
Nine-day Ratha Yatra festival begins countywide
Photo: Collected

A nine-day Ratha Yatra, the chariot festival of Sri Jagannath Dev, which is one of the major festivals of the Hindu community, began across the country today amid due religious fervor and festivity.

According to Hindu calendar, the festival begins on Dwitiya Tithi of Shukla Paksha in the month of Aashar. The festival will come to an end with ‘Ulto Ratha Yatra’ (reverse journey) on July 15.

In observance of the festival, different religious bodies and temple committees have drawn up various programmes including brining out colourful processions.

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) chalked out a nine-day programme in Dhaka, said a press release here today.

The country's largest Ratha Yatra procession was brought out today at Dhamrai in Manikganj district.

The programmes of the festival began in the morning at temples across the country with rendering of Harisangkirtan, holding of Agnihotra Jagna seeking world peace and people's welfare, recitation of verses from Srimat Bhagabat Geeta, distribution of Mohaprosad, discussion meeting, rendition of padaboli kirtan and Aarati, cultural function, staging of religious drama and screening of religious films.

The programmes of the ISKCON at Swamibag in Dhaka began this morning with holding of Agnihotra Jagna seeking divine blessings for world peace and people's welfare. A discussion was also held there in the afternoon.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan took part in the discussion as the chief guest with ISKCON, Bangladesh President Satya Ranjan Baroi in the chair. Awami League Organizing Secretary Sujit Roy Nandi and local lawmaker Sayeed Khokon also spoke on the occasion, among others.

Indian Deputy High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pawan Badhe inaugurated the Ratha Yatra procession at 3:00 PM.

Later, a colorful procession was brought out from Swamibagh temple with carrying images and idols of Sri Jagannath Dev, his brother Sri Balaram and sister Srimati Subhadra on three largely build Rathas (chariots).

The devotees pulled the ropes of the chariots (Rathas) from Swamibagh Ashram and paraded through Jaikali Temple intersection, Ittefaq crossing, Motijheel Shapla Chattar, Dainik Bangla intersection, Rajuk Bhaban crossing, Gulistan, Golapshah Mazar, Police Headquarters, Government Employees Hospital, High Court crossing, Doel Chattar, Central Shaheed Minar, Jagannath Hall, Palashi Crossing and rounded up the Ratha Yatra on the premises of the Dhakeshwari National Temple.

A huge number of devotees irrespective of genders and ages joined the procession in pulling the ropes of chariots. A large numbers of enthusiastic onlookers and passers-by from either sides of the city street witnessed the spectacular procession.

Besides, the Ratha Yatra festival was also celebrated at Ramseeta Mandir at Joikali Mandir Road, Shankharibazar and Jagannath Jeo Mandir at Tantibazar in old city and other places across the country.

Special security measures were taken marking the festival to avert any untoward incidents.

In the nine-day programme, Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Samanta Lal Sen and Land Minister Narayon Chandra Chanda will join discussions on July 11 and 12 respectively.

Ulto Ratha Yatra (reverse journey) will be celebrated on July 15. Devotees will pull the ropes of the chariots on the same route from Dhakeshwari Temple to Swamibagh temple.

Ratha Yatra is a journey in a chariot with deities of Jagannath (Vishnu avatar), Balaram, or Balabhadra (his brother), Subhadra (his sister) and Sudarshana Chakra (his weapon) on a ratha, a wooden deula-shaped chariot accompanied by people in colorful procession.

It attracts over a million Hindu pilgrims who join the procession each year in the Indian subcontinent including Bangladesh for long.

The Ratha Yatra of Puri in the Indian state of Odisha is considered as the oldest and largest Hindu chariot festival celebrated annually, on the bright half of the lunar month of Aashar (June-July).