Mumbai: Shivaji Park will see over three lakh devotees in attendance for the annual Jagannath rath yatra, planned by the Girgaum Chowpatty chapter of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) on Saturday. Iskcon’s spiritual leader Radhanath Swami Maharaj will address the gathering there.
Shedding light on the yatra, Iskcon spokesperson Lucky Kulkarni said that it would begin at 3 pm from Shivaji Park and pass through Shiv Sena Bhavan, Plaza, Maruti Mandir, Pourtugese Church, Gokhale Road, Khed Galli, Silver Apartment and Prabhadevi. It would return to Shivaji Park by 6.30 pm via the same route. There would be 56 bhog offerings to the Lord (Krishna) at 7 pm, followed by Mangal Yagya conducted by devotees.
“The festival is a mass movement for enlightening people. The devotees believe that to take part in these festivals is a step forward towards self-realisation and by simply seeing the Lord on the chariot, one advances beyond the cycle of life and death thereby attaining mukti (salvation),” said Kulkarni.
A spiritual leader of Iskcon said, “The chariot festival of Lord Jagannath is celebrated every year by lakhs of people since time immemorial at Puri in Odisha. Srila Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON, decided to celebrate the festival all over the world as not everyone could make to Puri.” The yatra is organised in the US, UK, South Africa, Europe, Poland, New Zealand, Australia and Mumbai, besides Puri in Odhisa. Two years ago, the devotees had organised a rath yatra in Pakistan also, he said.