Last Sunday marked the return of the annual Krishna Balarama chariot festival (Rath Yatra) in Ludhiana – a thriving business city 250 km from India’s capital -New Delhi. One of the biggest Ratha Yatra festivals in the ISKCON world, the event attracted hundreds of thousands of devotees as they pulled the chariots amidst the prayerful chanting of the Hare Krishna mahamantra.
The Honourable Chief Minister of the Punjab state, Mr. Charanjit Singh Channi, presided as the chief guest. This was a significant event since this was first time that the Chief Minister of Punjab had appeared as the Chief Guest in this historic festival, which has been one of the highlights of the city which brings together people of various communities and traditions.
This year’s Krishna Balarama Ratha Yatra received extensive coverage in the mainstream media. Commenting on the activities of ISKCON worldwide, as reported by the Hindustan Times and the Times of India local editions; “the Chief Minister declared the ‘Ratha Yatra’ as a state festival”.
As per reliable sources, it has been suggested that this move could potentially see the Punjab Government declaring a holiday on the day of the Ratha Yatra in the future. During his speech, the Chief Minister commented that “For internal peace, I have been reciting one shloka of Bhagavad Gita daily for last 25 years!”
ISKCON is building a beautiful temple in Ludhiana and is expected to be inaugurated in a year. The Chief Minister declared that the Punjab Government will donate Rs. 2.5 Crores towards the completion of this ISKCON project, which would be called the Glory of Punjab Temple Project.
Jan 23, 2022
Anandini Tikunov (8th-grade student)
Jan 22, 2022
Sunanda Das, tovp.org