Fremont, California: Ratha Yatra was celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm at the Fremont Hindu Temple on July 6th, 2019, organized by members of the Odia Community in Bay Area in association with the Fremont Temple Board & Management. This is the first Sri Jagannath temple founded by the Odia families in Bay Area and is celebrating 26th year of Ratha Yatra. Lots of work went into the preparation of Festival including the construction, assembly, and decoration of the Ratha, during evening hours and weekends by dedicated volunteers (sevaks) with their family.
After mangal arati, archana by Pundit Kumarji in the morning bhajans were sung by well known singer Alka Bhatnagar & her team. At 11:45 am pahandi began with devotees carrying the deities from the temple to the Ratha. The real excitement of the devotees could be seen with passionate chants of “Jai Jagannath” and reverberations of the ghantas. The Fremont Temple founder and chairman Dr Romesh Japra performed the Chhera Panhara followed by a short Moksha Odissi dance by Nataraj School of Dance in front of the Ratha. Incidentally Odissi dance form originated from Jagannath Temple in Puri. This marked the start of the Ratha pulling.
People of all ages pulled the Ratha with a lot of excitement and passion around the temple parking lot. After this, the deities were brought into a separate section of the temple where Gundicha mandir is located. A variety of delicious bhoga and prasad prepared by the Odia volunteers was offered to the deities. Several other Odia devotees along with temple volunteers from the community prepared a special Odia menu of rice, daal, besara, paneer, tomato khatta, kheer, moong dal halwa for mahaprasad.
Thousands of people from the Indian community representing various states of India attended the event and left with the divine feeling of being blessed. City of Fremont Mayor Lily Mei, Vice Mayor Raj Salwan and City Council Members Vinnie Bacon, Yang Shao and State Assembly member Kansen Chu also graced the occasion with their kind presence. It was such a pleasure to share our culture and stories with the mainstream US community. It also helps in mutual understanding of each others cultures.
The Odia diaspora living in Bay Area, USA feel blessed and privileged to be able to celebrate Ratha Yatra in spite of being far away from the homeland. Members of the Odia community of Bay Area in collaboration with the Fremont temple officials and volunteers from the Indian community in Bay Area made the celebration memorable. The manifestation of human fervor of devotion and collective celebration of Lord Jagannath across the globe with various nationalities is the true spirit of Rath Yatra. Bahuda Yatra will take place on July 14, 1 pm onwards. Lord Jagannath parivaar will return to
their abode after making a stopover at their aunt’s place.
Mahesh, a sevak and current coordinator of Ratha Jatra Festival at Fremont Temple, appreciates and is sincerely grateful to the sevaks who came forward to make Ratha Jatra 2019 successful.
Thanks to Dr Romesh Japra, Chairman of Temple and Fremont Temple Board, Trustees and Management for supporting us at every step.
Thanks to the experienced long time regular sevaks – Sanjib, Priyadarshy, Mahesh, Reena, Japani, Kalpana, Baidhar, Suchitra, Paramjit– pillars of this year’s Festival.
Thanks to the young and new sevaks and their families – Bhabani, Maitrayee, Pradeep, Priti Ranjan, Sangita, Sharda, Sonali, Tanmay, Sasmita, Subhranshu, Nibedita, Abhyakt, Rajalaskhmi, Pratibha, Prangya, Suvashree, Chinmayee, Chaitali, Anushmita, Malaya, Diwakar, Trishna, Bhama, Anuj, Sanjay, and many other Odias and sevaks from the larger community.
Last but not the least thanks to the kind donors for supporting this cause with valuable contributions.