On Wednesday, June 24, 2009, ISKCON Baroda's 28th annual Jagannath
Rathayatra Mahotsav, aka “Festival of the Chariots”, was observed in the
usual grand manner.
Baroda Mayor and recently elected Member of Parliament, Sri Balkrishna
Shukla, inaugurated the procession by sweeping the road in front of the
Lord's Rath (Chariot) with a golden handled broom, following the age old
tradition of the Maharajah of Puri, at the Baroda Railway Station at 2:30
PM, on Wednesday, June 24, 2009, which corresponds to the auspicious day of
“Aashadh shukla dvitiyaa” (the second day of the fortnight of the waxing
moon in the month of “Aashadh” on the Hindu calendar).
District Collector Vijay Nehera also participated in the inauguration of the
A huge crowd, including many political and social leaders of Baroda, were
present at the Baroda Railway station for the inaugural function. Due to
rain on the previous day, the summer temperatures had reduced.
The procession followed the traditional route from the Baroda Railway
Station throughout the main streets of the town. Some of the places that
came on the route: Sayaji Bagh (garden), Kala Ghoda (statue of the black
horse), Salatwada naka, Kothi, Raopura Main Road, Jubilee Bagh (garden), Sur
Sagar (lake), Dandia Bazar, Khanderao Market, Nyaya Mandir, Madan Zampa,
R.V. Desai Cross Road, Kevda Bagh (garden), and the procession end point,
opposite the Polo Ground.
A number of senior ISKCON devotees attended Baroda Rathayatra including H.H.
Bhakti Vikas Swami, Deena Bandhu Prabhu, Haripada Prabhu, Phalini Mataji,
Isvara Prabhu and Govinda Kund Das from Estonia. Also ISKCON temple
presidents Bhaktivinod Prabhu of Chandigarh /Kanpur, Murli Mohan Prabhu of
Vijayawada, Sachidananda Prabhu of Vallabh Vidyanagar (Anand), and Surapati
Prabhu of Lucknow.
ISKCON New Delhi Vice President and ISKCON IRGB all India Communications
Director Vrajendranandan Prabhu, was also present along with ISKCON New
Delhi “pracharak” Sachisuta Prabhu. Radha Ranjan Prabhu from Lucknow,
Raghuveer Prabhu from ISKCON Allahabad, Nityananda Prabhu (Lativa) from
Bhagavat Vidyapith, Govardhan also were present. Prema Bhakti Dasa came all
the way from Chicago, USA, to attend the Baroda Rathayatra.
A number of “kirtaneers” from Chandigarh and Vrindavan attended the
Rathayatra as well. ISKCON Baroda IYF devotees, headed by Nartaka Gauranga
Prabhu and Dr. Damodar Chaitanya Das distributed books throughout the
One of the features of Rathayatra was the distribution of ten tons of halava prasad, cooked in “deshi ghee” (pure ghee) to the crowds lining the roads.
At various places along the route, devoted citizens of Baroda offered
fruits, flowers, incense, donations, and “deep arati” to Lord Jagannath!
At two places, members of the Muslim community organized receptions with
these very same offerings to Lord Jagannath as well.
Almost four hundred pictures of the procession can be seen here.