Detroit ISKCON celebrated its 30th Annual Rathyatra on Sunday July 19th with its largest attendance ever – an estimated 10,000 visitors. There were many highlights of the day, including grand opening ceremonies, amazing kirtan by Gaura Mani, Gopal and others, five hours of captivating stage entertainment, jammed packed Kidz Zone featuring Vedic crafts, live cooking demos and so much more.
One of the most exciting features was a grand golden palanquin procession carrying Lord Jagannath, Lord Baladeva and Mother Subhadra to their beautifully decorated Deity Tent. Nearby over 200 guests chanted one round of japa right next to the Deities, most of who were newcomers. The newly expanded book tent was jam packed all day serving guests with Srila Prabhupada’s greatest gift to all of us – his transcendental books, resulting in 15% increase in sales.
Continuous kirtan live on the site filled the entire atmosphere with blissful transcendental sound vibrations. Finally, all families received an impressive full color free souvenir book containing a beautiful description of Srila Prabhupada’s 12 Year Miracle, Temple activities, Vaishnava songs and more.
Perhaps one of the greatest surprises of the day was when US Congressman David Trott joined the Opening Ceremonies as Honorary Chief Guest. He joined already impressive group of Honorary Chief Guests for the Opening Ceremonies, including the Mayor, entire City Council, City Manager and several key city officials. Just before Mayor Gatt and Congressman Trott addressed the large crowds, they both were presented with a copy of Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad Gita As it Is. Mayor Gatt was so touched by the gift that he announced in front of all: “wow, I’m honored. I will begin reading it today!” Congressman Trott pledged his support for the festival and requested us all to reach out to him whenever needed.
The intense heat and humidity could not stop participants from having an amazing time throughout the day. Over 150 dedicated volunteers put on an amazing showcase highlighting how Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON.
And now volunteers have already begun planning for next year’s Rathyatra.[ detroit ] [ jagannatha ] [ ratha-yatra ]