3-webFREMONT, CA: Jagannath Puri is one of the four pilgrim centers (Dhams) that are most sacred to Hindus. Lord Jagannath is one of the most revered and prayed incarnations of Vishnu. Every year, in the month of July, Lord Jagannath is taken out in a Chariot (Rath), around the city to the packed streets, full of devotees eager to get a glimpse of the Lord.

This is the day when Lord belongs to everyone. Regardless of social status, everyone has equal opportunity to see, touch and get blessings of the lord.

Fremont Hindu temple together with the Bay Area Odiya Community follows the same tradition and organizes a Rath Yatra every year to commemorate the event. It begins with Snana Poornima and culminates in Bhauda Yatra. It events run through for the whole month.

The main event Ratha Yatra happened on Sunday, 14 July this year where a gathering of over 3000 devotees took out a beautifully decorated Rath constructed by Prasanna Samanta Ray, Rudra Kar and their team members. The Ratha replicated the splendor of Puri Rath Yatra.

Special arrangements were made by Deb Mohanty and his bhajan group to conduct discourses on the significance of Rath Yatra. Manoj Panda, Shakti Swain, Amiya Mohanty, Asish Sahu, Dilip Praharaj, Namita Panigrahi, Mita Tripathy, and several other volunteers prepared special Odiya dishes as offerings to the Lord and served as Prasad.

The pujas, prasad, decorations and the special veshas were conducted in the same fashion just as they do in Puri.

Mahesh Pakala, a member of the Odiya community said, “The Bay Area Odiya community has been working hard to build the Chariot for Lord Jagannath for the past several months. Our Tri Valley team who led the celebrations this year,

presented a well organized and coordinated event with efficient support of the Fremont Temple events director Deepak Chhabra and temple administration. The community comes together passionately and emotionally for this special celebration and the fervor is similar to celebrations in Puri, Odisha, the abode of Lord Jagannath”

Temple officials Govind Pasumarthi, Manorama Joshi, Rakesh Kapoor, together with the temple priests helped create the spiritual ambience in the temple.

Ritu Maheshwari
India Post News Service