Jagannath (car) festival hosted in Rhodes Island of USA

GG News Bureau
Rhodes Island, 23rd July. Rhodes Island in United States of America witnessed the 4th Car festival hold annually with much pomp, pleasure, and splendor recently. The festival is organized annually where the Lord Jagannath is worshiped following all the rituals as per the Vedic norms that commenced from the morning under the guidance of main priest Somnath Shastri. Prior to that the deities were stationed at the Hindu temple in Warwick.

The Hom Nama Yagna, Upchara, Mangala Aaarti were performed in a solemn and ceremonial manner. At about 12:00 PM in the noon the four deities were taken in Pahandi procession to the aesthetically and colorfully decked up chariot. The decoration was neatly done with minutest care by Sasmita Mishra along with Deepak Raj and Saurav Mishra. The entire atmosphere got reverberated with the chanting of hymns, roaring of slogans like Hari bol and Jai Jagannath, sounding of hulahuli, blowing off conch and playing of musical instruments such as, kartala, Mardala, Jhanja and Mrudanga and ringing of the auspicious bell.
The highlight of the celebration was the Pahandi of Goddess Subhadra being performed exclusively by ladies. Chandrashekhar Mohanty conducted the traditional service of sweeping before the Chariots called Chhera Pahanra. The scene of the majestic presence of supreme God Lord Jagannath, His elder brother Lord Balabhadra , Goddess Subhadra and Lord Sudarshan on the chariot was simply mesmerizing. “The auspicious glance of the lord is pure bliss and provides ethereal peace to the mind’, said one devotee.
Around 150 devotees gathered during the occasion were fortunate to catch the glimpse of the Gods and Goddess placed on the chariot. The participants included an American yoga group, Hindu temple members, Hindu and Odia families settled in New England Region. The whole ambience was agog with pious and spiritual fervour. Around 12:30 PM amidst the devotional renderings of Kirtan, recital of Bhajans, Jananas, the chariot was pulled till one-and-a-half-kilometer distance in the city and then pulled back to the temple premises.
The miracle happened when despite Met department’s prediction of heavy rainfall during Rath yatra time, not a single drop of water fell from the sky, while the Lord of the universe was on his Royal Sojourn at Grand Road.
To everybody’s utter surprise there was a massive downpour like cats and dogs in the island State just after the conclusion of the car festival. The deities were offered Prasad, diligently prepared by volunteers like Babita Mohanty, Kalpana Mohanty, Leena Pattnaik, Pragnya Pattnaik, Simmi Routray, Munmun Das, Ranjitha Behera. The Delicious Prasad having the flavour of Abhada at Ananda Bazar in Puri was later distributed to the devotees assembled on the occasion. President of Odisha Society of New England Debadutta Behera extended a warm welcome to all the guests.
The much sought-after ceremony began with the soulful singing of Jagannath Bhajans by renowned singer Amrita Bharati being live streamed from Mumbai. The special attractions of the day were masterly yoga performances by ISKCON group of Connecticut and scintillating Odissi dance recital by local art exponent Akansha Patnaik. Ace anchors Bhagyashree Behera and Priyanshi Behera coordinated and moderated the cultural. Pankaj Panda ably handled the audio visual and digital control room.
The detail arrangement of the Car Festival was skillfully executed and successfully managed by the chief host Akshay Mohanty and co – organisers like Saroj Behera, Subharanshu Mohanty, Sourjya Mahapatra, Leena Mahapatra, Nibedita Padhi, Santosh Behera, Mani Mohapatra, Mahesh Patel, Dr. Neena Gupta, Nagesh Kamsani, Surya Kavli, Srinivas Belitung and Hema Sundaresha.

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