for The Times of India on June 21, 2012
VADODARA, India: If the young and the old will throng the city's roads with chants of 'Hare Rama, Hare Krishna' during the annual Jagannath Rath Yatra on Thursday, kids in the city will be celebrating their own Rath Yatra festival in style.
Students from the age of five to twelve will haul the decorated rath with idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balram and Devi Subhadra at city-based Prince Ashokraje Gaekwad school.
It will be for the sixth consecutive year that the school located in the Dhairya Prasad Palace campus besides Lalbaug main road will organize the rath yatra festivities for children, parents and teachers.
"We have a temple of Lord Jagannath in our palace premises. This temple has all the daily devotional procedures and practices as observed in the Swami Jagannath temple at Puri, Orissa. The temple priest also hails from Orissa," school administrator Dr Tushar Bhonsle said on Wednesday.
"Nowhere in the country there is a rath yatra, which is specially organized for children. We are organizing this festivity, for exposure of kids towards culture which is also important for their overall development," said Bhonsle, adding that the chariot itself is decorated by students and staff of the school and is pulled from the temple.
Once the rath is hauled by the students to the school, after worship at the school campus, it is taken back to the temple. On this occasion, day-long 'bhajan' programme is organized at the temple premises.