The cosmopolitan culture of Durgapur becomes apparent from the enthusiasm and devotion in which people of the industrial town participates in the Ratha Yatra festival (chariot festival). Amid jubilant chants of “Hare Krishna” and “Jai Jagannath” thousands of devotees pulled the rope of the splendidly decorated chariot with images of Lord Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra on Wednesday during the annual Rath Yatra festival.
Like every year, this year too the biggest Ratha Yatra celebration was organized by the Jagannatah Madir Committee of Durgapur’s Steel Township. Yesterday in the afternoon, magnificently decorated Ratha (Chariot) with idols of Lord Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra started its Yatra (journey) from the Jagannath Temple at Rajendra Prasad Road of Durgapur’s Steel Township with the pulling of the chariot’s rope. Pulling this holy rope is considered very auspicious in Hindu culture and thus, devotees come here with strong beliefs and immense devotion to participate in this grand and sanctified occasion.
Thousands of devotees pulled the rope of the chariot, considered to be a sacred and holy act, till the journey ended at the nearby Rajiv Gandhi Mela Maidan. The Ratha will be kept at the Mela Maidan for a week till the Ratha begins its Punarjatra, i.e. journey back to the Jagannath Temple (Ultorath) on 18th July ’13.
Like every year, a grand fair has been organized by the Jagannatah Madir Committee at the Rajiv Gandhi Mela Maidan. For most people of Durgapur, the main attraction of Ratha Yatra festival is the grand Mela (fair) held at the Rajiv Gandhi Mela Maidan. People from not only Durgapur, but also from Asansol, Bardhaman, Raniganj, Pandebeshwar, Panagarh, Kanksha, Ukhra and other adjacent areas visit the fair which normally continues for a month.
Stalls ranging from electronic items, computers to household daily needs, garments and food stalls were seen busy in activity from the very first day. A book fair is the added attraction. At least one lakh of people visits the fair every year, and this year the number under all likelihood will escalate further.
International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) Durgapur for the first time organized a Ratha Yatra celebration at the Chaturanga ground of Durgapur City Centre. In the morning, the Micro Small-Scale Enterprises and Textiles, Land (Mos) of West Bengal, Mr. Swapan Debnath was present at the start of the Ratha Yatra from the ISKCON temple at the Netaji Subhas Bose road of the Steel Township of Durgapur. The mayor of Durgapur, Mr. Apurba Mukherjee pulled the rope of the chariot to begin the journey of the ISKCON Ratha carrying idols of Lord Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra. The splendidly decorated Ratha threaded their way through the city and reached the Chaturanga ground of City Centre in the evening.
The Jagannath temple adjacent to Mamra Bazaar of Durgapur’s MAMC Township also witnessed Ratha Yatra celebration with much enthusiasm. This is one of the oldest Jagannath temples of Durgapur and the Ratha Yatra celebration here is the oldest in the town.