California, July 7 (LocalWire) Fremont Hindu Temple, the first abode of Lord Jagannath in Bay Area, California, USA, hosted the annual Ratha and Bahuda Yatra on June 27 and July 4 respectively.
While the holy festival usually attracts thousands of devotees, this year the Ratha Yatra was held in a restricted manner with a limited number of approximately 20 devotees with heightened precautions, maintaining social distancing and wearing masks owing to the pandemic.
For the thousands of devotees who could not join, a live telecast of the Ratha Yatra was organized which gave 7000 plus devotees glimpses of the Holy Trinity on their TV, mobile phones and laptops.
Says Dr. Romesh Japra, Chairman of the Fremont Temple, “Due to the pandemic all of our programs such as Holi and Shivaratri were shut down. However, by Lord Jagannath’s grace, we could follow our annual tradition of completing the rituals of Rath Yatra.
It’s a blessing for us that due to the efforts of the temple management this could be achieved.”
He appreciated the contribution of a senior Odia member and committed devotee, the late Shri Deba Mohanty, who was instrumental in initiating the first Ratha Yatra in Silicon Valley, here at Fremont Hindu Temple.
Shri Rajesh Verma, President of Fremont Temple echoed the same sentiments and invited devotees to participate in the Temple’s online activities.
Ratha Yatra rituals started by offering pooja to deities, “Pahandi” to Ratha followed by “Chera Pahara” starting the preparatory rituals for readying the chariot for pulling.
Radhika Saini from Nataraj School of Dance performed traditional Odissi dance in front of the chariot before the chariot was pulled by the devotees with Kirtan and Bhajan and the chants of “Jai Jagannath” led by Kirtan Mellows of Silicon Valley Iskcon temple.
Various prasad were prepared for the three lords and distributed amongst the devotees. Then the three lords were moved to the “Gundicha” temple and the rest of the rituals were performed over there.
The rituals were rounded off with bhajans by Bay Area artiste Alka Bhatnagarji with our Odia singers and devotees and Tabla by Jasho that filled the environment with devotion.
Bahuda Yatra was quieter and Lord Jagannath’s Niladri Bije was completed with the beautiful Suna Besa.
The Fremont Temple tried to keep the last 26 years of Ratha Yatra tradition alive amidst the coronavirus pandemic with the belief that “Jagatara Natha” will shower blessings over devotees across the world to overcome this pandemic.