July 14, 2018
Mamata Banerjee flags off Rath Yatra in Kolkata
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today flagged off this year’s Rath Yatra in Kolkata, organised by ISKCON.
Starting from Hungerford Street opposite the ISKCON temple on Albert Road, the raths, or chariots, moved through some of the most important thoroughfares of the city – AJC Bose Road, Sarat Bose Road, Hazra Road, SP Mukherjee Road, ATM Road, Exide crossing, Jawaharlal Nehru Road and Outram Road – to reach the Brigade Parade Ground, where arrangements have been made for daily special darshan of Lord Jagananth, till July 22.
Special prasad will be distributed at the site of the rath on the Brigade Parade Ground every day till July 22, the day of Ulto Rath Yatra. Various cultural programmes will be held during the festival.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said:
- Rath Yatra is celebrated with a lot of fanfare here. Besides by ISKCON in Kolkata and in Mahesh, it is also celebrated in many other places in Bengal in big or small forms. In fact, the Yatra is celebrated all over the world.
- We should remember that religion is an integral part of our lives, whatever that religion may be. And festivals are for all to celebrate together.
- Rath Yatra is for everyone. Devotees purify themselves by pulling the raths of Lord Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra.
- Lord Jagannath is considered the ‘nath’ or ‘lord’ of the world by many believers.
- There is a close connection between Maa Kali’s Temple and the Jagannath Temple of Puri.
- Today, I am praying to Lord Jagannath for the good of all of you, to keep you and your families happy and healthy.
- I am also praying for peace to reign in Bengal as well as in the entire country, and the whole world.
Wishing all of you to remain healthy and happy.