On 1st July 2022, ISKCON Baroda celebrated it’s 41st annual Sri Jagannath Rathayatra festival in a very grand way.
This year the temple Rathyatra committee under the guidance of President Sriman Basu Ghosh Prabhu (ACBSP) and Vice President Sriman Nityanand Ram Prabhu decided to celebrate this festival more gloriously than other years, due to the 2020/2021 pandemic period, when we were unable to properly observe Rathyatra and other festivals in full-fledged way.
The ISKCON Baroda temple was decorated with a theme called cool breeze and the Rath also was decorated as never seen before!
Their Lordships, Jagannath, Baladev, and Subhadradevi were decorated with new ornaments and new dresses and were looked very graceful and charming.
H.H. Bhakti Vikas Swami, H.H Rupa Raghunath Swami, Sriman Devakinandan Prabhu, Sriman Isvara Prabhu, Sriman Krishna Kirti Prabhu, Sriman Radha Ranjan Prabhu, Sriman Saciputra Prabhu, and Smt. Surangi Mataji were among the senior devotees who came from out of town to participate in the Rathyatra festival.
Many local politicians and government leaders attended the Rathyatra festival, both at the temple in the morning and particularly at the Baroda Railway Station, where the Rathayatra traditionally begins.
A number of political leaders and dignitaries also graced the occasion.
Sri Bhargavbhai Bhat, State BJP Mahamantri (General Secretary), Mayor of Baroda, Sri Keyurbhai Rokadiya, Baroda Member of Parliament, Smt. Ranjanben Bhatt, Gujarat Minister of State with Independent Charge of several ministries, and local MLA, Smt. Manishaben Vakil, District Collector Sri A.B Gaur, Municipal Commissioner, Smt. Shalini Agarwal (IAS), local MLAs, Smt. Seema Mohile, Sri Jitubhai Sukhadia, Sri Yogesh Patel, Ex-mayors of Baroda Sri Brahmbhatt, Sri Bharat Dagar, Sri Naranbhai Patel, and Sri Sunil Solanki were also in attendance, as well as a number of Municipal Councillors, Leader of the opposition in the Baroda Municipal Corporation, Sri Battubhai Srivastava, and many more leaders joined the event.
A number of ISKCON pracharaks and devotees from other parts of Gujarat like Morbi, Buhari, Nandurbar (in Maharashtra), Kukurmunda, and Dahod took part in the Rathayatra very enthusiastically.
A remarkable amount of 30,000 kgs of halva was distributed during the procession, in trucks moving behind the Rath.
Other communities also kept their stall for distributing other Prasad items.
At the temple, after the Rathayatra 20,000 people had taken full bhojan prasad in an open bhandara organized at ISKCON Baroda.
Seeing Lord Jagannath coming out after 2 years, Indradev blessed all his devotees with lots of his merciful rain! Despite this apparent hindrance, thousands of devotees gathered to have a glance of Lord Jagannath on His chariot.
Many enthusiastic and devoted citizens of Baroda were offering bhoga from their windows, rooftops, on the streets, and wherever they could stand.
We even saw devotees waiting in a very big queue that too, in this rain where water on the streets was filled up until their knees.
Lord Jagannath being the most compassionate in His entire creation blessed each and everyone who came on the way for His gracious darsan.
Jaya Jagannath! The Lord of the Universe. Jaya Baladeva, Jaya Subhadra!
Srila Prabhupada ki jai!