for NDTV.com on Dec. 26, 2007
A Ratha Yatra parade festival in Delhi resonated all the way to Puri in Orissa. There the devotees say that the Jagannatha Ratha Yatra recently organised by ISKCON in Delhi is untimely.
The Ratha Yatra is traditionally held in the Hindu month of Asadh, which usually falls in July. The ISKCON parade in December has angered many Hindu organizations and the Puri temple priests.
"This Ratha Yatra which is being taken out by ISKCON people in Delhi is definitely untimely and it has given lot of pain to devotees of Lord Jagannatha throughout the world," said Suresh Mohapatra, Chief Administrator, Sri Jagannath Temple, Puri.
"We have written to the Delhi government asking them to not allow or participate in this Ratha Yatra. We also request ISKCON devotees not to take out such Ratha Yatras," he added.
But ISKCON argues the Yatra can be taken out any time of the year.
The powerful Puri temple and other Hindu groups are gearing up for a campaign against ISKCON, accusing it of sacrilege.