The News Agency of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

Hindu New Year Marked by Ratha Yatra in Solapur

By: on March 26, 2010
Photo Credits: Sankirtana Dasa

ISKCON Solapur held its annual Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra on Tuesday, 16th March 2010 coinciding with the celebration of the first day of the Hindu New Year. Solapur is located in the state of Maharashtra, India, about 10 hours southeast of Mumbai by train. Thousands of the 1.4 Million citizens of Solapur lined the streets of their city to receive their Lordship. Along the route colorful welcome gates had been erected and regularly the cart had to stop for receptions of fruits and flowers offerings. Bands and firecrackers resounded along with the traditional kirtan reverberation.

Solapur is somewhat notorious for violent clashes of political and religious rival groups. In anticipation of this, a presence of armed soldiers guarded the parade, particularly while passing the Muslim section of the town with the local mosque. However, Lord Jagannath's festival, arranged for the third time by management of Istadeva Dasa, seemed to evoke only joy and not cause any friction. Furthermore, Lokanath Swami's melodious singing of the Maha Mantra inspired hundreds of young locals to dance vigorously throughout the whole parade.

The procession began from Balaji Temple at 2:00 p.m., with a Hare Krishna Festival, complete with cultural program and food distribution, continuing until 7:00 p.m.. Dignitaries such as the police commissioner,
members of the Legislative Assembly as well as the Mayor of Solapur, all spoke to the assembled participants.

The local TV station and newspapers covered the event, with favorable commentaries, as the annual event gradually becomes a local tradition.

[ maharastra ] [ ratha-yatra ]