for Express News Service (India) on Jan. 24, 2009
Participants throng the Kapaleeshwarar temple at Mylapore, Chennai to participate in the annual Ratha-yatra on Tuesday.
The entrance to Kapaleeshwarar temple in Mylapore turned into a sea of humanity, as the devout Hindus turned up to pay obeisance to Lord Jagannath on the occasion of the annual Ratha-yatra organised by ISKCON on Tuesday.
While men and women waited patiently on either side of the chariot for the priests to complete the prescribed rituals, a group of ISKCON members, in their saffron attire and gopi chandana tilak applied prominently on their foreheads, sang bhajans praising the Lord.
ISKCON spiritual leaders, including Bhanu Swami Maharaja of Japan and Bhakti Vraajendra Nandan Swami Maharaja of Malaysia, offered their prayers.
Speaking on the occasion, Bhanu Swami said that the yatra served as a means to escape from the eternal pull of maya.
“The rewards of attending the Ratha-yatra of Lord Jagannath are enormous and they are more gratifying than all the fame and fortune that one can achieve in life," he said.
Even as the priests performed the final aarti and a pumpkin was smashed to ward off evil, the juggernaut finally rolled and the yatra commenced. They reached Kuchalambal Kalyana Mandapam at Chetpet in the evening with the devotees celebrating all throughout the way.